- Serena Williams left it late to pull out of her match against Maria Sharapova
- It is the first time Williams has ever pulled out of a Grand Slam tournament
- Sharapova has only beat Williams twice and has not won against her since 2004
- Williams made the decision before heading onto the court on Monday afternoon
- She has withdrawn mid-tournament 15 times before - but never in a Grand Slam
By Anneta Konstantinides For Dailymail.com
Published: 09:42 EDT, 4 June 2018 | Updated: 11:02 EDT, 4 June 2018
Serena Williams has pulled out of the French Open, marking a disappointing end to days of hype surrounding her match-up with Maria Sharapova.
After beating the Russian tennis player in every match since 2004, Williams revealed she could not play on Monday in the fourth round due to an arm injury.
It is the first time Williams, who lost the doubles on Sunday, has ever pulled out of a Grand Slam.
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Serena Williams has pulled out of her French Open showdown with Russian Maria Sharapova
Williams announced the news during a press conference on Monday, revealing she had suffered an injury to her right pectoral muscle
Williams, 36, suffered an injury to her right pectoral muscle during her third-round match against Julia Görges on Saturday.
'Unfortunately I have been having issues with my pec muscle, right now I can't actually serve,' she said during a press conference on Monday.
'The first time I felt it was against Goerges, it was really painful. In my doubles yesterday I tried lots of different tapings. It didn't really get a lot better.'
The tennis superstar, who earlier said Sharapova was the 'favorite' to win their match, said she cannot serve and was 'beyond disappointed' to be leaving the tournament.
'It's very difficult because I love playing Maria,' Williams said during a press conference.
'It's a match I always get up for. Her game matches up so well against mine.'
The tennis superstar, who earlier said Sharapova was the 'favorite' to win their match, said she cannot serve and was 'beyond disappointed' to be leaving the tournament
'It's very difficult because I love playing Maria,' Williams said during the press conference. 'It's a match I always get up for. Her game matches up so well against mine'
Williams also revealed she had not suffered from the pectoral injury before and was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday.
'I'm beyond disappointed,' she said. 'I gave up so much, time with my daughter, all for this moment, so it's really difficult to be in this situation.'
'I've never had this before, I've never felt this in my life, but it's so painful and I don't know how to manage it. I've had every injury in the book but this is different.'
Despite her fine record against the Russian, Williams - who was playing in only her third tournament since giving birth - felt unable to put her body through the rigors of clay-court tennis ahead of the imminent grass-court season.
Williams made the decision during the fourth set of Rafael Nadal and Maximillian Marterer and swiftly organised a press conference to explain her reasoning.
She now turns her attention to returning to fitness in time for Wimbledon, having been knocked out in the third round of the doubles on Sunday night.
Williams (pictured after defeating Julia Georges on Saturday) also revealed she had not suffered from the pectoral injury before and was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday
Sharapova (pictured during a match on Saturday) now progresses to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros where she will take on either Garbine Muguruza or Lesia Tsurenko
Serena and her sister Venus lost 6-4, 6-7, 0-6 to No 3 seeds Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Sharapova now progresses to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros where she will take on either Garbine Muguruza or Lesia Tsurenko.
Monday would have been the first time the pair played against each other in two years.
They last met at the 2016 Australian Open, when Sharapova was embroiled in a scandal after failing a drug test.
Much has been made of the Williams-Sharapova rivalry through the years, despite the fact that Sharapova has only bested Williams twice in her tennis career.
Sports journalist Bill Simons was forced to apologize on Saturday after he asked Williams if she was 'intimidated' by Sharapova's looks.
Williams now turns her attention to returning to fitness in time for Wimbledon, having been knocked out in the third round of the doubles on Sunday night
Simons, of Inside Tennis magazine, was called 'sexist' by fans after he referred to Williams as 'baby' and asked how she responded to Sharapova's 'alluring' physique.
The journalist was referencing an interview he had with Donald Trump in 2004 after Sharpova beat Williams at Wimbledon.
Simons said that Trump called Sharapova's shoulders 'incredibly alluring' and then claimed Williams had been intimidated by her 'supermodel good looks'.
'My question is: Have you ever been intimidated by anyone on a tennis court, and what are your thoughts about the occurrence?' Simons asked.
'I honestly don't have any thoughts about that,' Williams replied. 'I can't say I have been intimidated by anyone. That's all. That's it.'
Simons later apologized, adding that he admired Williams and had spent his 'lifetime fighting racism, sexism, and homophobia'.
Serena and her sister Venus lost 6-4, 6-7, 0-6 to No 3 seeds Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez on Sunday (pictured)
Sharapova intensified rumors of the women's rivalry when she hit out at Williams in her 2017 biography 'Unstoppable: My Life So Far'.
In the book Sharapova said she believed Williams never forgave her for winning Wimbledon in 2004.
'I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,' Sharapova wrote.
'I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly, I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She's never forgiven me for it.'
But on Sunday Williams called the book '100 percent hearsay' and said it was 'a little bit disappointing'.
'I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that's what I have seen a lot of people do,' she told the BBC.
Sharapova recently wrote in her biography that said she believed Williams never forgave her for winning Wimbledon in 2004 (pictured)
Williams called the book '100 percent hearsay' on Sunday and said it was 'a little bit disappointing', but added that she has no 'negative feelings' toward Sharapova
'I think it's normal. I think, if anything, it shows the passion and desire and, you know, the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.'
'I think what happens there should definitely maybe stay there, and not necessarily talk about it in a not-so-positive way in a book.'
But despite Sharapova's words, Williams said she had no 'negative feelings' toward the controversial tennis star.
'A lot of people always assume that I feel a different way and it's not true,' Williams said.
'Especially having a daughter - I feel like negativity is taught. If anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that a thousand times.'
Williams has talked frequently of motherhood as she arrived at the Stade Roland-Garros, even wearing a catsuit for her first game last week to honor new moms
Williams revealed she wore the catsuit to honor fellow moms who had a tough recovery following pregnancy, just as she did
It has been just nine months since Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr
The tennis star (pictured with husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter before the royal wedding) said from the start of her pregnancy that her goal was to get back on tour
Williams has talked frequently of motherhood as she arrived at the Stade Roland-Garros, even wearing a catsuit for her first game last week to honor new moms.
After besting her opponent Kristyna Pliskova 7-6, 6-4, Williams took to Twitter to reveal the inspiration behind the daring look.
'Catsuit anyone? For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy - here you go,' she tweeted. 'If I can do it, so can you. Love you all!!'
It has been just nine months since Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
The tennis star said from the start of her pregnancy that her goal was to get back on tour - but not until she knew that she could win.
Wlliams also recently revealed that she can't wait to grow her family and give Olympia a sister
While the injury is no doubt disappointing to Williams, she is looking ahead to future tournaments - and future children.
The mother-of-one, who on Sunday posted a video of herself cuddling Olympia on Instagram, recently revealed to People that she cannot wait to make her family even bigger.
'If I wasn't playing tennis, I'd be pregnant right now,' she said with a laugh. 'Sorry, I'm one of those women.'
'I told Alexis, I hope it's another girl. Olympia needs a little sister, and then we can have a boy.'
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