Women's tennis superstar Serena Williams had to withdraw from the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open before Friday's quarterfinal match versus Petra Kvitova due to a thigh injury.
WTATennis.com reported the news, along with what Williams had to say about pulling out of the tournament.
I have a left thigh injury and, unfortunately, have to withdraw from this year's Mutua Madrid Open. It happened during my first round match. It started to get better, but most importantly right now, I just need some time to rest and recover. It's beyond words. It's so frustrating. We couldn't ask for a better tournament and I love it here in Madrid. I love being a champion here. Manolo Santana and his team put on a great tournament. This is not the way I wanted this week to end.
Williams also took to Twitter to talk about her plans:
Sad I could not play my match today. But I'm recovering fast and getting ready for Rome and Roland Garros. I love u #RenasArmy kisses to all— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 9, 2014
Neil Harman of The Times reported Williams' plans with regard to next week's Italian Open:
Serena said today: "I am planning to play Rome. I have a bye so have an extra day of rest. I will take it one day at a time."— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) May 9, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Courtney Nguyen noted how Williams had been dealing with the pain in the previous two matches:
Serena Williams withdraws from Madrid with a left leg injury. Had it taped her last two matches. Kvitova through to semis. #wta— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) May 9, 2014
Both of Williams' past two clashes on the court in Madrid resulted in victory, and as the top seed, she was the prohibitive favorite to claim the top prize, having not dropped a set in three matches.
Williams was the defending champion in Madrid and won the title in Rome last season as well. Such prowess preceded her second French Open Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros. She would ideally like to accumulate as much experience as possible on the clay surface before the season's second major commences on May 25.
That will prove to be difficult with this nagging thigh injury that Williams attempted to grind through but couldn't. With how fit and strong Williams is, it says something that she was unable to continue. She alluded to the bye she has in Rome, though, which has to help her cause to thrive there.
While she could have conceivably gutted through and bolstered her resume even more, it was the wise move for Williams to prioritize health over short-term success. As long as she is able to work through this health issue, Williams will be the player to beat again at Roland Garros—if not in the Rome Masters, too.