When a wobbly-legged Serena Williams pulled out of Wimbledon doubles play because of a “viral illness” Tuesday, there was a fair amount of skepticism, particularly from one of the game’s greats.
“I find it distressing,” Martina Navratilova told ESPNW. “I think virus, whatever they’re saying it was, I don’t think that was it. I think it’s clear that’s not the case. I don’t know what it is, but I hope Serena will be okay and most of all, I don’t know how she ended up walking onto the court.”
Williams, who partners with her sister Venus in doubles, backed up her excuse by sharing an Instagram photo Wednesday that showed her asleep under a blanket.
“It’s the most inexplicable thing of all that she was clearly in no state to play a match and that with all the people around her that they didn’t stop her from getting on the court,” Navratilova, who won 20 Wimbledon titles overall, said.
It was more curious when Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told reporters he had not seen her in two days.
“I’ve never seen anything like it and hopefully never will again,” Navratilova said. “Everybody was put in such a difficult position, including the WTA. It’s not right. It defies logic on so many fronts. The coach said he hadn’t seen her for two days. He didn’t know anything. How can you be a coach and not know anything? That’s wrong. And Venus was just kind of there. You don’t know what’s going on, but virus was not it, that much is clear.”