Serena Williams' strange exit from Wimbledon this year had more than a few people scratching their heads.
But apparently 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Navratilova was shaking hers.
"I find it distressing," Navratilova told ESPNW as the situation that resulted in Serena and sister Venus Williams defaulting their doubles match Tuesday continued to be parsed over. Serena received medical treatment before they took the court, after which they still played several games, including the third and final one during which Serena couldn't even get her typically fierce serve over the net.
The 32-year-old champ, who came into the tournament seeded No. 1 and had lost her singles match the day before, said in a statement afterward that "a bug just got the best" of her, and her condition was reported as a "viral illness."
"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," Navratilova said. "I don't know what it is, but I hope Serena will be OK. And most of all, I don't know how she ended up walking onto the court."
"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," she continued. "...Everybody was put in such a difficult position, including the WTA. It's not right. It defies logic on so many fronts."
Navratilova—a 20-time winner at Wimbledon in singles, doubles and mixed doubles—concluded: "Once you step onto the court, you're a professional tennis player, you've got to be ready to play. No matter what is ailing you or no matter if you did anything to get you in that state or you're sick or whatever, you don't step on the court. You don't step on the court, no matter what."
True, it wasn't so much her hard-to-watch exit as it was the fact that she played at all that had sports fans and experts alike concerned.
"Illness is no joking matter," wrote Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Dwyre. "Nor is the perpetual mystery that seems to surround the Williams sisters. May the bug, whatever it is, go away."
Without a caption, Serena posted a photo yesterday of herself dozing on her couch, getting some of that much-needed R&R, and today she took to Twitter to thank her fans.
"I love you," she wrote. "Thank you for all the support. Words cannot express how much I love my fans and friends, and family. Yours always. Xxx S."