A nagging left Achilles’ tendon injury will keep Serena Williams from competing in this year’s French Open any further, which she announced on Wednesday, Sept. 30, before facing Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner said she decided to drop out after struggling to warm up for her match against Pironkova and noticing a limp.
“I really wanted to give an effort here. It’s my Achilles that didn’t have enough time to properly heal after the [US] Open,” Williams said at a press conference. “I was able to get it somewhat better, but just looking long term in this tournament, will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don’t think I could. Struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a telltale sign I should try to recover.”
Williams, who’s won the French Open three times already, said to heal she’ll need about two weeks of rest, then up to a month and a half of recovery. The 39-year-old explained that she probably won’t play in another tournament for the rest of 2020.
Williams sustained the Achilles injury earlier this month in the semifinals of the U.S. Open during her loss to Victoria Azarenka, which led her to drop out of the Italian Open soon afterward.
On Wednesday the mother of one posted an Instagram photo of herself and wrote that she doesn’t intend to be away from tennis very long.
“Paris- I love you don’t worry I’ll be back- love you all thanks for the support. Out but not for long 💪🏿,” wrote Williams.
After advancing to the third round of the French Open by walkover, Pironkova will face Barbora Krejčíková on Friday, Oct. 2.
Williams hasn’t won a Grand Slam since the Australian Open in 2017, and if she wins one more she’ll tie Margaret Court, who has 24 Grand Slam titles.
Wednesday marks the second time that Williams withdrew from the French Open, doing so in 2018 due to a pulled muscle in her chest.
She beat Pironkova at this year’s U.S. Open in three sets.