Serena Williams have withdrew from the French Open after suffering an Achilles tendon injury on Wednesday shortly before she was supposed to face Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old American, a three-time former champion at Roland Garros, was aiming to claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Williams told a news conference. “Struggling to walk I felt like I needed to walk with a limp.”

An Achilles injury is not one you want to play with as it can get worse,” she said.

“I love playing tennis. I love competing. It’s my job and I’m pretty good at it still, I am so close to some things and I feel like I am almost there that’s what keeps me going.”

Williams also pulled out of the French Open in 2018 before a last-16 clash with Maria Sharapova.