Serena Williams withdraws from French Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – September 28, 2020. Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her first-round match against Kristie Ahn of the US. [REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo]

Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the 2020 French open ahead of her second-round match on Wednesday, according to organisers.

Williams, who was chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in Paris, was scheduled to face Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova on Court Philippe Chatrier later on Wednesday. 

The tennis megastar has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time behind Australia’s Margaret Court (24).

Williams, who picked up an Achilles problem during her US Open semi-final defeat by Victoria Azarenka earlier this month, said she needs to fully recover before returning to action.

“I think I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing. I have been struggling to walk so that’s a telltale sign that I should try to recover,” Williams told journalists.

“Achilles is an injury you don’t want to play with – I think it was one of the worst, don’t want to get to that point, I want it to get better.”

The four-time Olympic gold medalist beat fellow American Kristie Ahn 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 in the first round at Roland Garros on Monday but was struggling physically.

“In the second set, I felt I needed to walk with a limp. I had to focus on walking straight so I wasn’t limping. I tried and always give 100%, I take solace in that.

“I’m not sure I will play another tournament this year. It is not an acute injury, it is a nagging injury. I ran into bad timing and bad luck really,” Williams added.

She won the French Open in 2002, 2013 and 2015 and is currently ranked ninth in the world.

Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players.

Serena Williams withdraws from French Open
Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her first-round match against Kristie Ahn of the US. [REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo]
Serena Williams withdraws from French Open
US Tennis woman Serena Williams presents an award during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019. [Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP]

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