Willliams, the three-time French Open winner, withdrew from the clay-court tournament at Roland Garros on Wednesday citing an acute injury to her Achilles tendon in advance of a match with Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. 

The injury first raised its head in Williams’ U.S. Open semi-final loss to Victoria Azarenka three weeks ago and forced her to abandon hopes of winning what would have been her 24th Grand Slam title. And, judging by recent comments she made about her injury, it could be some time before she makes her return to action.

I really wanted to try to play but the tendon didn’t have time to heal after the U.S. Open,” she said of her ailment. 

I struggle to walk. I tried, I always give 100%, everyone knows. But this is a type of injury you don’t really want to play with, because it can definitely get worse.

I’m not worried about my body in general, because it’s an acute injury, not a recurring problem that has come back. It would have been worse if it had been the my knee. These things happen, I was unlucky. I cannot be sure today that I will be able to play another match in 2020.”

The injury is a blow to Williams who had prepared extensively for the French Open and had spent much of the time between it and the U.S. Open attempting to rehab the troubling injury.

I prayed a lot for these problems to disappear completely, after the US Open I went to an academy and I worked doing rehabilitation to make them disappear and be at my best for Roland Garros.”

With the tennis season still facing restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has caused the cancelation of events in Asia later this year, Williams says that she is likely facing several months on the sidelines before being deemed injury-free and eligible to play again.

I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing, at least two weeks of just sitting down, and then from after that two weeks I have been told that I need to start doing a little training,” she said.

It will give me a lot of time to fully recover for the future.”

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