Rafael Nadal has offered his support to Serena Williams and backed the American to bounce back from her latest injury disappointment after she pulled out of the French Open.
Williams beat fellow countrywomen Kristie Ahn 7-6(7-2), 6-0 in the first round at Roland Garros.
But second-round opponent Tsvetana Pironkova has received a bye as Williams cannot take to the court to finish her clay campaign.
The 39-year-old was hoping to equal Margarat Court’s Grand Slam record of 24 title by winning the French Open.
But she will have to wait until next year after an Achilles injury brought her season to a premature end.
Nadal knows all about being sidelined with serious injuries and he has backed Williams to bounce back.
“I really don’t like to talk about things that I don’t know very well. I don’t want to speculate how bad is the injury or not. Of course, is very sad news for tennis, for Roland Garros, and especially for her,” the 12-time French Open winner said.
“I am sorry for her. I can just wish her a fast and good recovery. All the comebacks are tough, especially when you get a little bit older. Every time is more difficult.
Premier League done deals: Every confirmed transfer [TRANSFERS]
Serena Williams withdraws from French Open injured [INTERVIEW]
Mick Schumacher F1 debut confirmed [NEWS]
“She showed amazing passion for this sport. I really believe that she will be good in the next couple of months.”
After pulling out of the tournament, Williams revealed she was struggling with the issue before she headed to Paris.
“I need four to six weeks of sitting and doing nothing,” said Williams. “It’s more than likely that I won’t play another tournament this year.
“I feel like my body is doing really, really well and for lack of a better word I just ran into bad timing and bad luck really in New York.
She added: “I’m doing so much for it [the injury].
“I did so much for it at Patrick’s academy, like I went straight from New York directly to his academy and started rehabbing it.
“So one of the reasons I came into press a little bit earlier than normal was because I need to get back and start the protocol all over again.
“In the second set I felt I needed to walk with a limp. I had to focus on walking straight so I wasn’t limping. I tried and always give 100% per cent, I take solace in that.
“I’m not sure I will play another tournament this year. It is not an acute injury, it is a nagging injury. I ran into bad timing and bad luck really.”
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here