Serena going through 'difficult phase' - Mouratoglou
World No.1 Serena Williams is going through a "difficult period", her coach Patrick Mouratoglou has admitted.
She has struggled in grand slams this year, failing to progress beyond the fourth round at any of the three majors held so far. But it was her display in the doubles at Wimbledon alongside sister Venus that gave fans real cause for concern.
Williams seemed dizzy and confused as she struggled to hit serves in the warm-up ahead of her second round match against Kristina Barrois and Stefanie Voegele. She was eventually forced to retire just three games into the first set, citing a "viral illness" as the cause of her disorientation.
That explanation was met with much scepticism and further intrigue was added after Mouratoglou admitted he had not seen Williams for two days before the match, suggesting a rift between the player and her coach.
The pair have never confirmed that they are in anything more than a professional relationship, but there has been speculation they have been dating.
Mouratoglou insisted he had not fallen out with Williams and said she was working hard to prepare herself for next month's US Open.
"Serena is clearly going through a difficult period," Mouratoglou told France's Tennis Magazine. "But after Wimbledon we had many hours of discussions and we have restarted our work.
"Today, she is in a state of mind where she wants to train hard to come back strong. At no time was there any question of our collaboration ending.
"There were complicated things and it is true that Serena is in a difficult phase, but I'll leave it there."