July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Serena Williams promised to return to Wimbledon after having to retire from her second-round doubles match with sister Venus because of a virus.
Serena, the world’s top-ranked woman in singles, is suffering from a viral illness, Wimbledon organizers said yesterday. She saw a doctor on court before the start of the match against Kristina Barrois of Germany and Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele.
The Williams sisters, who have each won five singles championships at the All England Club as well as five as doubles partners, trailed 3-0 after five double faults. Struggling with coordination and picking up the ball from the court, Serena served successive times into the net before hitting balls almost to the baseline.
“I am heartbroken I’m not able to continue in the tournament,” Serena said in a written statement provided by organizers that thanked fans for their cheers and understanding. “I thought I could rally this morning, because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me. I look forward to returning to Wimbledon next year.”
Serena, 32, was ousted from the singles tournament in the third round on Saturday by France’s Alize Cornet, meaning the No. 1 hasn’t reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal all year after winning two of the majors in 2013. Venus, 34, also lost in the third round.
“I don’t know what’s going on, I haven’t seen her in the last two days,” Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena’s coach, said in an interview.
Venus Williams echoed her sister’s resolve.
“I’m really proud of her for trying because we just love playing doubles together,” she said in the statement. “We are looking forward to coming back to Wimbledon next year.”
Both sisters have had health problems in the past. After winning Wimbledon in 2010, Serena was off the tour for almost a year after she hurt her foot by walking on glass. She needed two operations to repair tendons and then had treatment on blood clots on her lungs in February 2011, which she said later could have been “life-threatening” and “career-ending.”
During the 2011 U.S. Open, Venus said she had been diagnosed with the energy-sapping Sjogren’s syndrome.
Serena’s serve, which reached 117 miles per hour earlier in the tournament, has been called “the best shot in tennis” by 18-time major champion Chris Evert.
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