Serena Pulls Out Of Wimbledon With A Bug

SERENAIt was clear something was wrong with Serena Williams, the moment she began trying to warm up for her Wimbledon doubles match, Tuesday.

She weakly pushed volleys into the net from a couple of feet away. She whiffed on practice strokes. She even had trouble with the simple task of collecting tennis balls from the ball kids.

After Williams was examined for about 10 minutes on the sideline by medical staff, including a check of her blood pressure, the match began. After three games, though, an out-of-sorts Williams and her partner, older sister Venus, stopped. The tournament referee’s office and WTA later said Serena, who lost in the singles Saturday, had a viral illness.

“I am heartbroken I’m not able to continue in the tournament,” Serena said in a statement. “I thought I could rally this morning because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me.”

Few hours after leaving the court, Serena walked out of the All England Club, still wearing her white match outfit, with a tournament towel draped around her waist. She got into a car and was driven away.

“Unfortunately, Serena has been feeling unwell for the past few days and just couldn’t play to her potential today,” Venus said. “I’m really proud of her, for trying, because we just love playing doubles together.”

They have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles as a pair, including five at Wimbledon. In singles, the 32-year-old Serena is ranked No. 1 and owns 17 major championships, the most among active women; five came at the All England Club.

“We were all looking forward to a great match. From the bottom of my heart, I thank all   the fans for their cheers and understanding,” said Serena, who was beaten in three sets by 25th-seeded Alize Cornet in the third round of singles. “I look forward to returning to Wimbledon next year.”

While being looked at by a doctor before the start of the second-round doubles match against Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele, Serena hunched over and covered her face with her hands.

Eventually, play began. With Serena serving in the third game, she was broken at love, with four double-faults. One of the best servers in the women’s game, she hit balls which bounced before reaching the net.

At love-40 in that game, chair umpire, Kader Nouni took the unusual step of climbing down from his perch and walking over to speak to Serena. She then served another double-fault, to fall behind 3-0.

Serena and Venus walked to the sideline, holding hands, and Nouni announced to the crowd at No. 1 Court: “Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, Miss Williams has to retire.”

Serena wiped away tears as she walked toward the court exit.

Her career has been marked by health problems.-AP

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