Paris – Serena Williams announced her shock withdrawal from the French Open on Monday with injury just minutes before her scheduled fourth-round clash against long-time bitter rival and fellow Grand Slam icon Maria Sharapova.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion added that she would stay in Paris for scans on the injury to find out how long she will be out of action.
She was unable to say whether or not she would be fit for Wimbledon which gets underway in four weeks‘ time.
She was also playing just her third tournament of the year after giving birth to daughter Olympia in September.
The shock withdrawal came just minutes before she was due on Court Philippe Chatrier to face fierce rival Sharapova.
Sharapova, the champion in Paris in 2012 and 2014, goes on to play a first quarter-final at the Slams since losing to Williams at the same stage at the 2016 Australian Open.
Monday‘s bombshell announcement was the first time in her 20-year career that Williams had pulled out during a Grand Slam event.
They had been knocked out on Sunday by Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez with the American sisters getting a 6-0 bagel in the final set.
“I made a promise that if I‘m not at least 60 percent or 50 percent, then I probably shouldn‘t play,” she added.