Serena Williams is missing almost all of the cartilage in her knee, something that plagued Rafael Nadal over the years, her coach Patrick Mouatoglu told reporters at the Paris Open on Tuesday.
“It’s the same as Rafa,” he said. “It’s just playing for so many years, the cartilage is [almost] gone. Not all of it, but a big part, so the bones just hit themselves.”
Williams last appeared in this summer’s U.S. Open, exiting in the semifinals against Roberta Vinci. A month ago, she announced she would not play any more competitive tennis in 2015 due to elbow and knee issues.
“She has bone bruises and if you keep on playing with this for too long, the next step is a stress fracture,” Mouatoglu said. “At her age, her career could really be in danger if she went too far and got more injured like Rafa [Nadal] did in the past. He kept on playing with the same problem and then it got worse and he had to stop for almost a year. We don’t want this to happen. She is 34. If she has to stop for a year then it is really bad for her.”
The 34-year-old dominated the women’s circuit in 2015 with five singles titles—three of them at Grand Slam events—and a combined record of 53–3. With 21 Grand Slams, she is attempting to break Margaret Court’s record of 24 for career.
- Kenny Ducey