Tennis champion Serena Williams suffered a devastating ending to her brief run at the Rogers Cup final on Sunday when she made the difficult decision to retire from the tournament due to a back injury.
Just four games into the first set, Williams requested a medical timeout while facing off against 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu of Canada. Minutes later, a visibly distraught Williams was seen in tears as she spoke to her trainer while seated on the bench just before it was confirmed that she would be retiring from the tournament altogether.
While the moment itself was heartbreaking to watch, it also included a touching exchange between Andreescu and Williams that saw Andreescu go over to comfort Williams and ultimately put a smile on her face before the two exchanged a comforting hug.
Immediately following the unfortunate chain of events, Williams spoke with reporters about the moment, elaborating on her injury and sharing kind words about the character of her opponent.
“It started yesterday in my match and, it just got worse,” she said. “My whole back just completely spasmed to the point where I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t really move. So, I was just trying to figure out how do you play a match where you have no rotation.”
She later added that because she’d experienced these types of back spasms before, the most frustrating part of the injury for her was knowing that it would likely be healed in 24 to 36 hours.
“It’s a little frustrating for me because I know that I can play, I just can’t play today,” she said.
Check out the video above to hear what else Serena had to say about her injury as well as her thoughts on her opponent. We wish her a speedy recovery as she looks ahead to the U.S. Open, where she’ll be going for her 24th Grand Slam title, later this month.