Serena Williams French Open

‘I’m struggling to walk’ – Serena Williams out of French Open after second round withdrawal

Three-time French Open champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from her second round clash against Tsvetana Pironkova.


The American, seeded sixth in Paris this year, picked up an Achilles injury at the US Open earlier this month and there were doubts over her fitness heading into Roland Garros. Williams beat compatriot Kristie Ahn in straight sets in first round action on Monday.

“I warmed up and it was a very short warm-up,” said Williams in press shortly after her withdrawal. “I talked to my coach and I was like, what do you think? What are your thoughts with this? We both thought about it and we really realized that more than likely it wasn’t the best to try and play today.”

“I’m struggling to walk so that’s a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover,” added Williams. “I really wanted to give an effort here.”

Williams was set to play Pironkova for the second straight slam after the two contested a three-set quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows. The American rallied from a set and a break down on that occasion before losing to Victoria Azarenka in the last four. It was in her semi-final loss to Azarenka that her Achilles injury first emerged, receiving a medical timeout in the third set against the Belarusian.

Her withdrawal means that she will have to wait until the Australian Open in 2021 to continue her quest to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

Serena Williams won the title at Roland Garros in 2002, 2013, and 2015, as well as being the runner-up in 2016. It is the second time in recent years that she has had to withdraw during the tournament due to injury, having to pull out of a fourth round clash against Maria Sharapova in 2018.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.