Serena Williams withdraws from the French Open with Achilles injury

Serena Williams has pulled out of her second-round French Open match with Tsvetana Pironkova due to an Achilles injury.

Williams had been attempting to recover from the injury sustained at the US Open but did complete her first-round match against compatriot Kristie Ahn, winning in straight sets.

However, she has pulled out of her second-round tie against Pironkova – who she beat at the US Open earlier this month.

Pironkova will advance to the third round where she will face either Barbora Strycova or Barbora Krejcikova.

Williams, 39, admitted she may not play again this year as she prepares to rehab the problem and claimed that she was ‘struggling to walk’.

‘I think I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing and at least just two weeks of sitting down,’ said the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

‘After that two weeks I’ve been told I need to do a little training. I don’t know if I’ll be able to play another tournament this year.’

She added: ‘I feel like my body is willing, this is not a nagging injury, this is an acute injury. If it was my knee that would be more – really devastating for me but this is something that just happened and it’s super acute and that’s totally different.

‘I feel like my body is actually doing really, really well and I just ran into, for lack of a better word, bad timing and bad luck really in New York.

‘That happened but my body is actually doing really well. And I can never do much sitting as I’ve been working for over 20 years.’

On taking the decision she added: ‘After I warmed up – it was a very short warm-up – I talked to my coach and I was like, ‘What do you think?’

‘We both thought about it and we really realised that it likely wasn’t the best for me to play today.

‘I was able to get it somewhat better but just looking long term in this apportionment will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don’t think I could. (I’m) struggling to walk so that’s a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover.’ 

‘I love playing in Paris, I really wanted to give an effort here. My Achilles didn’t have time to properly heal. I’m struggling to walk so that’s kind of a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover.’

Despite the setback, Williams remains in hot pursuit of Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record and is determined to extend her playing career.

Meanwhile, an unusually loud bang was heard at Roland Garros on Wednesday morning.

Players were seen reacting to the noise, which passed after a second, and it has emerged that it was merely a fighter jet breaking the sound barrier.

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