Serena Williams' shot at making tennis history will have to wait. The star announced Wednesday morning that she is withdrawing from the French Open due to a lingering left Achilles tendon injury. Williams made the call to withdraw ahead of her scheduled second-round match against Tsvetana Pironkova and is "struggling to walk" due to the severity of the injury, according to the Associated Press.
"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 has won 23 majors, is one win shy of tying Margaret Court's all-time record of 24. Serena has not been won a major since the Australian Open in 2017. The star said she'll need two weeks to rest and potentially four to six weeks in order to recover from the injury fully, so this may have been her final tournament appearance of the 2020 season
During the US Open last month, Williams, 39, suffered the injury during her semifinal defeat at the hands of Victoria Azarenka. It became clear she couldn't go on further in the Australian Open when she began limping while warming up for the match against Pironkova.
This is the earliest that Williams has been out of a Grand Slam tournament since she lost in the second round of the 2014 French Open. Williams was also forced to withdraw from the 2018 French Open.