Serena Williams demands showdown talks with French Open amid coronavirus fears over her 'serious health issues'

SERENA WILLIAMS reached the US Open quarter-finals and demanded showdown talks with French Open bosses.

The American, 38, beat Greek ace Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-7 6-3 – her 100th win on the Arthur Ashe Stadium – and now faces Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.

Roland Garros is hoping to have limited numbers of fans for the clay-court Slam later this month and players must stay in one of two official hotels.

But three-time winner Williams, who has a history of blood clots and lung problems, said: “I was hoping to stay at my apartment in Paris.

“If there are fans, then we should be able to stay elsewhere.

“I’m super conservative because I do have some serious health issues.

"I’m going to have to make the best decision for my health.

“Maybe it will be good for me to talk to the organisers just to see how that works with the crowd and how we will be protected.

"I still have some questions.”

World No1 and defending champion Ash Barty followed up her withdrawal from the US Open by skipping her defence at Roland Garros over her own fears.



The Aussie won the French Open in 2019 after beating Czech star Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 in the final.

She said: “It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year.

“Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career so this is not a decision I have made lightly.

“There are two reasons for my decision. The first is the health risks that still exist with Covid.

“The second is my preparation, which has not been ideal without my coach being able to train with me due to the state border closures in Australia.

“I wish the players and the French Federation all the best for a successful tournament."




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