Serena Williams was forced to pull out of her Wimbledon doubles match after just three games Tuesday after appearing disoriented on court.
The world No. 1 looked off during warmups, as she struggled to catch balls thrown to her and hit balls to her desired target. She also had trouble picking them up from the ground.
After the odd warmup, Serena retreated to the bench, where medical personnel checked on her. While it was obvious that something wasn’t right, the doubles match with her and sister Venus Williams against Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele eventually got underway after a 13-minute delay, which included Serena breaking down and crying at one point.
It never got better for Serena, though, as she committed three consecutive double faults when it was her turn to serve in the third game.
The unusual behavior from the tennis star prompted the chair umpire to intervene. She convinced him to allow the match to continue, but after the game, the two sisters walked over to the sideline holding hands and withdrew from the match.
After the game, the Wimbledon referee’s office announced that Serena is suffering from a viral illness.
UPDATE (4:41 p.m.): Each of the Williams sisters released a statement about having to withdraw because of Serena’s illness.
Said Serena: “I am heartbroken I’m not able to continue in the tournament. I thought I could rally this morning, because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me.”
Added Venus: “Unfortunately Serena has been feeling unwell for the past few days and she just couldn’t play to her potential today. 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.”
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