Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and the biggest stars in tennis are crashing out of the French Open in rapid fire fashion

Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and the biggest stars in tennis are crashing out of the French Open in rapid fire fashion
Serena Williams lost to Elena Rybakina on Sunday.Getty/Aurelien Meunier
  • Serena Williams and Roger Federer are the latest big names to exit the French Open early.
  • Williams was beaten in the fourth round, while Federer withdrew through injury.
  • Naomi Osaka's withdrawal last week was the highest profile early exit from Roland-Garros.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer have joined a long list of high profile stars to make early exits from the 2021 French Open.

Williams was beaten in straight sets (6-3, 7-5) in the fourth round by 21-year-old Elena Rybakina on Sunday as her wait for a record 24th Grand Slam title goes on. The same day, Federer announced he was withdrawing from the tournament in order to protect his body as he continues his rehabilitation from two knee surgeries.
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The Swiss, 39, had beaten German Dominik Koepfer in the third round on Saturday and was set to face Matteo Berrettini in the fourth on Monday.

"After two knee surgeries and over a year of rehabilitation it's important that I listen to my body and make sure I don't push myself too quickly on my road to recovery," Federer said.

"I am thrilled to have gotten three matches under my belt. There is no greater feeling than being back on court."
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Federer has long said that his focus this season is being in the best possible condition for Wimbledon, where he is aiming to win a 21st Grand Slam in total, and a record ninth Wimbledon. The championship, held in London, begins on June 28.

Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and the biggest stars in tennis are crashing out of the French Open in rapid fire fashion
Roger Federer, Dominik Koepfer.Getty/Julian Finney
Williams and Federer are just the latest big names to crash out of Roland-Garros early. In the women's draw, American Sofia Kenin is the only top five seed player left. World number one Ashleigh Barty withdrew half way through her second round match against Magda Linette with injury, while Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina both lost in the third round.
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Most notably though, second seed Naomi Osaka opted to withdraw from the tournament after she was fined $15,000 for not attending a post-match press conference following her first round win.

The Japanese player, 23, had said prior to the tournament that she would not be talking to media during the tournament in order to protect her mental health.

In the men's draw, top three seeds Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, and Rafael Nadal all remain in the competition, however fourth seed and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem was beaten in the first round by veteran Pablo Andujar.
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Seventh seed Andrey Rublev also lost in the first round, while 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut and 14th seed Gael Monfils were both beaten in the second.

The withdrawals mean that the women's bracket of the tournament is now anyone's to win, while in the men's draw Nadal remains the heavy favorite to win a 14th Roland-Garros title, his 21st Grand Slam in total.

If he were to do so, Nadal would overtake Federer - both men currently have 20 career Grand Slams - to become the most decorated player in men's tennis history.
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Speaking to Insider before the French Open, Nadal said that he is not focusing on the record, and is simply looking to win the tournament.

"I never have been obsessed about winning more than the rest and all this stuff. Of course, I want it, of course, I am trying hard, but I am just happy doing what I'm doing and just happy being competitive still today and giving myself a chance to compete against the young guys," he said.

"My approach is Roland-Garros, my approach is not the 21."
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