Top singles seed and former champion Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon competition today, after a mystery illness left her disoriented and dazed during a doubles match.
While her and her sister Venus took on Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele, the younger sister appeared confused, putting serves into the net and failing to catch a ball she just bounced. Onlookers reported her looking “drunk.” Three games into the match, the Williams sisters retired, and Serena was brought to a local hospital and was reportedly diagnosed with a “viral illness.”
This comes right on the heels of her recent defeat in the singles tournament, at the hands of Alize Cornet.
Some questioned what was going on with Williams in her last match, however if she was feeling poorly from this “bug” as she called it, this could definitely make a little sense. Coming down with something will often make someone tired, and not feel like themselves. This is completely normal and elite athletes are not immune to such things.
There are some who will question the legitimacy of Williams’ illness and its sudden and convenient onset. Especially after she has already complained of her performance in doubles play. This is insane, and frankly uninformed. Williams’ play was nails until these last two matches, and the decline is consistent with her story.
The one thing she can do right now is focus on her health, and ensure she is ready for the next tournament. Wimbledon is over for her and that is just fine. There will be another one next year. However, this illness definitely ties the pieces together from the last few days.