Serena Williams’ dreams of securing another win at Wimbledon were dashed on Tuesday. The seven-time champion retired from her first-round match after sustaining a leg injury.
ESPN reports that Williams slipped on Centre Court during her match with Aliaksandra Sasnovich and needed to take an injury timeout to receive treatment. Williams attempted to continue playing, but her leg buckled, and she collapsed on the court.
The 39-year-old tennis star got back up, crying, as she walked to the net to shake hands with Sasnovich. The match ended 3-3.
“Our seven-time singles champion is forced to retire from The Championships 2021 through injury,” the official Wimbledon Twitter account tweeted.
We're heartbroken for you, Serena.
Our seven-time singles champion is forced to retire from The Championships 2021 through injury#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/vpcW1UN78s
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2021
“I am so sad for Serena. She’s a great champion, but this happens sometimes in tennis. I wish all the best for her and a good recovery,” Sasnovich said.
This is just the second time in Williams’ career that she was forced to retire from a match at a major. The last time was in 1998 during the third round at the All England Club.
The extent of Williams’ injury is not yet known. Before suffering the injury, she was considered one of the tournament favorites.
Williams took to Instagram to address her exit and expressed her gratitude for the crowd’s support as she walked off the court.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg. My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on center court so meaningful,” Williams wrote. “Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on – and off – the court meant the world to me.”