Ill Serena 'heartbroken'

  • Last Updated: July 1 2014, 23:56 BST

Serena Williams said she was "heartbroken" to have to pull out of the Wimbledon doubles due to a worrying illness.

Serena Williams is attended to by medical staff at Wimbledon
Serena Williams is attended to by medical staff at Wimbledon

The 32-year-old managed only three games of her women's doubles match alongside sister Venus before being persuaded to call it day.

In scenes that were uncomfortable to watch on Court One, Serena seemed to be struggling with her vision.

She served four consecutive double faults as the sisters surrendered the third game of their match against German Kristina Barrois and Swiss Stefanie Voegele.

The WTA announced the official cause of the withdrawal as a "viral illness" for Serena, who lost in the third round of the singles to Alize Cornet on Saturday.

In a statement, Serena said: "I am heartbroken I'm not able to continue in the tournament. I thought I could rally this morning, because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me.

"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 called for the trainer before the match began after struggling through the warm-up and looked teary as she engaged in a lengthy conversation before eventually deciding to give it a go.

The sisters lost the first two games but it was when Serena came to serve that the extent of her problems became clear.

She was struggling to bounce the ball and keep it under any semblance of control, and her first four serves barely reached the net.

"Come on Serena" went the encouraging cheers from the crowd, but a third double followed and, although the 32-year-old had managed to get the ball into the opposite half of the court, her direction was all off.

Umpire Kader Nouni came down to the court to speak with the sisters, who carried on, but Serena's fourth double fault in a row meant it was becoming a grim spectacle.

There was little option for the sisters but to abandon the contest to allow Serena to seek assistance for the problem.

Serena, who had to endure a health scare in 2011 when blood clots on her lungs were discovered, later left grounds with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, still looking dazed.

Venus said: "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. We are looking forward to coming back to Wimbledon next year."