Serena Williams Leaves Wimbledon Doubles Match With ‘Viral Illness’

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Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams left Wimbledon empty-handed this year. The 32-year-old Williams was seen in rare form on Tuesday afternoon. In her doubles match with her career long partner and sister, she struggled consistently to handle fundamentals. Williams is considered one of the most dominant servers in women’s tennis. However, she failed to get her serve over the net and left after just the third game. At one point, Williams served four consecutive double faults. The embarrassing display left spectators dismayed. According to the WTA, Serena Williams left her Wimbledon doubles match due to a “viral illness.”

The Williams sisters faced off against Kristina Barrios and Stephanie Voegele. The match appeared flawed from the start. Williams struggled mildly to pick up tennis balls from ball children. The No. 1 ranked female tennis player in the world even faltered in warm ups, as Williams failed to make contact on some of her swings. The passionate athlete caused the match to be delayed 10 minutes while she sought medical attention in practice. However, medical staff determined that Williams was in playing condition.

The doubles partners trailed 3-0 before Williams was excused. After being down Love-40, Williams was approached by Kader Nouni. Nouni made the rare trip away from the umpire’s chair to address the status of the superstar. Serena Williams then decided to leave her Wimbledon doubles matchup due to being virally ill. The sisters were the eight seed in the tournament, but have 13 Grand Slam titles together. Five of those Grand Slam titles were won at Wimbledon. Throughout the match up it was clear that Williams appeared disoriented and distressed. Her subpar performance comes on the heels of a third round Wimbledon singles loss to Alize Cornet on Saturday.

Williams was visibly disappointed with last weekend’s defeat, as the fierce competitor was unable to add to her record 17 Grand Slam titles. However, she did manage to walk away holding her doubles partner’s hand. An emotional Williams was seen tearing up while leaving the All England Club. According to her other sister, Isha Price, Williams was certainly disheartened by the Saturday’s loss. Price also stated that her sister was not eating, but assured the public this behavior was routine following a tough loss. The five-time Wimbledon champion took home the singles and doubles titles back in 2012.

The “viral illness” Williams contracted was determined by a diagnostic, but has not been publicly disclosed. The power-serving phenom expressed her sadness in a statement released by the WTA. “I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me,” said Williams. Venus Williams commended her sister’s attempt to fight through the infection. Unfortunately, she ultimately realized Serena Williams’ talent and production were compromised. Williams was feeling sick days earlier and attempted to fight through the pain before succumbing to the virus. If Serena Williams envisioned leaving Wimbledon, she certainly did mot imagine leaving her doubles match because of a “viral illness.” Nonetheless, she is eager to return to form next year.

Commentary by Brandon Wright

ABC News
New York Times

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