Serena Williams Forced to Withdraw at Wimbledon Under Strange Circumstances

Day Eight: The Championships - Wimbledon 2014

Serena Williams Forced to Withdraw at Wimbledon Under Strange Circumstances

Serena Williams suffered a shocking exit from singles competition at Wimbledon over the weekend, and now the world’s No. 1 player has withdrawn from the tournament altogether, unable to continue her doubles match with sister Venus on Tuesday under strange circumstances.

The match began with trainers attending to Serena prior to taking to the court, prompting questions about her health entering the day. This was coupled with an uncharacteristic attempt at serve that saw Serena lose her footing, then serve short:

It’s unclear whether an injury has been hampering Serena that has previously gone unreported. Her collapse against Alize Coronet represented a lack of consistency, routinely failing to make her first serves and giving up numerous points on unforced errors.

She had trouble several times performing basic tasks of hand-eye coordination, including picking up balls or catching ones tossed to her.

After the warm-up ended, Williams was visited on court by doctors who measured her blood pressure. Williams told them she felt faint, and wiped away tears and covered her face. She sat for nearly 10 minutes as her sister looked on with concern, so long that Barrois asked if she might be able to warm up again.

Williams eventually decided to play, and the crowd cheered as she took the court. Venus served first, and though she won a few points with serves that her opponents were not able to return, Voegele and Barrois won the opening game. Voegele and Barrois extended their lead to 2-0, and it was time for Serena to serve.

She was not up to the test. She double-faulted four times, including several serves that bounced near the net or hit the frame of her racket. After the third double fault, the chair umpire, Kader Nouni, descended from his perch to ask Williams if she was able to continue. One double fault later, Williams walked to her chair, with Venus holding her hand briefly. The two then officially retired from the match.

“Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, Miss Williams has to retire,” announced Nouni, garnering applause that had been sympathetic and encouraging throughout the ordeal.

Venus and Serena Williams then walked slowly off the court together. The referee’s office listed the reason for the withdrawal as a “viral illness.”

 All our prayers are with Serena and we wish her a speedy recovery.