• Wimbledon

Serena 'heartbroken' after extraordinary doubles exit

ESPN staff
July 2, 2014
Serena struggled to pick balls up from the No.1 court turf © Getty Images

Serena Williams said she was "heartbroken" after illness forced her to pull out of Wimbledon doubles action in extraordinary fashion on Tuesday.

Serena, playing with sister Venus, looked disorientated and glassy-eyed as she retired from the second-round match on Court No.1, with the Americans trailing 3-0 in the first set to German Kristina Barrois and Swiss Stefanie Voegele.

Serena struggled to hit shots and serves in the warm-up and repeatedly missed balls as they were thrown to her by ball boys and girls, even struggling to bend down and pick them up herself.

The match began 13 minutes late after Serena had an initial assessment by medical staff and, with Serena serving in the third game, she was unable to hit serves that even made it as far as the net.

After Serena served a weak double fault to go 3-0 down, Venus took her hand and escorted her to her chair, with chair umpire Kader Nouni announcing she would withdraw.

"I am heartbroken I'm not able to continue in the tournament," Serena said later. "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."

Serena also failed to make an impact on the singles draw, suffering her earliest singles defeat at Wimbledon since 2005 when she was knocked out in the third round by France's Alize Cornet.

Venus, who was beaten by Petra Kvitova in the third round of the singles, added: "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."

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