Serena’s Wimbledon hopes up in air

Serena Williams
Serena Williams
Image: Thomas Samson/AFP

Serena Williams’s dream of an eighth Wimbledon title could either be saved or shattered in a Paris doctor’s office this week, the ace said.

The 36-year-old American stunned the French Open on Monday by withdrawing from her eagerly anticipated last16 grudge match with bitter rival Maria Sharapova just minutes before the two icons of the women’s game were due to clash on Court Philippe Chatrier.

A pectoral muscle injury had slammed the brakes on the ruthless Williams’s serving arm so she decided not to take up the opportunity to extend her 14-year, 18-match winning streak over the Russian.

“I’m going to get an MRI tomorrow [Tuesday]. I’m going to stay here and see some of the doctors, see as many specialists as I can,” the 23-time grand slam title winner said.

“And I won’t know that [her Wimbledon status] until I get those results.”

In Paris, Williams was playing her first grand slam since winning the 2017 Australian Open when she was two months’ pregnant and first since she gave birth to daughter Olympia in September.

However, in the end, her Paris schedule caught up with her. Since Tuesday last week, she had played six matches in six days, with her singles duties alternating with doubles alongside sister Venus.
That compared to just four matches – in Indian Wells and Miami this year – since her 2017 Australian Open win.

“I have made every sacrifice that I could, so it’s extremely disappointing,” she said.

“But also, I made a promise to myself and to my coach and to my team that if I’m not at least 60% or 50%, then I probably shouldn’t play.

“The fact that I physically can’t serve at all is a good indication that maybe I should just go back to the drawing board and stay positive, try to get better and not get to a point where it could be a lot worse.”

With Wimbledon not starting until July 2, Williams has a degree of time on her side in which to get healthy.

A rematch with Sharapova at the All England Club could have even greater significance as it was there in 2004 that the Russian, then a slender 17year-old, stunned Williams to lift the title.

It also lit the fuse on a relationship which has been explosive ever since.