- Michael Beattie

The 23-time major winner pulls out with an arm injury ahead of her fourth-round clash with Maria Sharapova.

Serena Williams troisième tour Roland-Garros 2018©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Serena Williams has withdrawn from Roland-Garros 2018 prior to her fourth-round match with Maria Sharapova.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion, making her first appearance at the majors in Paris since the 2017 Australian Open following the birth of her daughter, cited an issue with her pectoral muscle as the reason for her decision.

"I unfortunately have been having some issue with my pec [pectoral] muscle," she told reporters in an impromptu press conference. "Right now I can’t actually serve, so it’s hard to play. I can’t physically serve.

"It's very difficult because I love playing Maria. Her game matches so well against mine."

Williams said the new injury first surfaced during her third-round victory over Julia Goerges, and efforts to strap her shoulder to protect the muscle made little impact during her doubles defeat alongside sister Venus Williams on Sunday.

"It didn’t start before I got here," Williams said. "It was really painful and I didn’t know what it was. I’m going to get an MRI tomorrow, I’ll stay here and see some doctors here, but I won’t know about [Wimbledon] before that.

"I'm beyond disappointed. I gave up so much – time with my daughter time with my family I put everything on the court all for this moment. So it’s really difficult to be in the situation. [But] I try to think positive and think of the bigger picture, the next events and the rest of the year."

Gabrine Muguruza's fourth-round showdown with Lesia Tsurenko will now be moved from Court Suzanne-Lenglen to Court Philippe Chatrier following the last-16 clash between Marin Cilic and Fabio Fognini.

The winner of Muguruza-Tsurenko will play Sharapova in the quarter-finals.