Top-ranked Serena Williams, and her sister, Venus Williams, abandoned their Wimbledon doubles match after Serena fell ill.
According to reports, Serena appeared unsettled for her doubles match. While warming up, she had trouble several times performing basic tasks of hand-eye coordination, including picking up balls or catching those 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, wiped away tears and covered her face.
Williams eventually decided to play, but 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, asked Williams if she was able to continue. One double fault later, Williams walked to her chair. Serena and Venus officially retired from the match shortly after.
“Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, Miss Williams has to retire,” Nouni announced, garnering applause of encouragement. The referee’s office listed the reason for the withdrawal as a viral illness.
Three hours after the withdrawal, the WTA distributed a statement from Serena Williams.
“I am heartbroken I’m not able to continue in the tournament,” it began. “I thought I could rally this morning, because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me. I want to thank my sister, Kristina, Stefanie and our teams for their support. We were all looking forward to a great match.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of the fans for their cheers and understanding. I look forward to returning to Wimbledon next year.”
Venus Williams also issued a statement:
“Unfortunately, Serena has been feeling unwell for the past few days and she just couldn’t play to her potential today,” it read. “I’m really proud of her for trying because we just love playing doubles together. We are looking forward to coming back to Wimbledon next year.”