UPDATE: Following her exit, Serena took to Instagram to release the following statement: “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 centre court so meaningful. Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on – and off – the court meant the world to me.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Serena Williams, 39, broke down in tears on the tennis court in Wimbledon on June 29 after withdrawing from the tournament due to an injury. In the first set of Tuesday’s first-round match — during a matchup against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus — Serena appeared to slip on the wet grass and injured her right leg.
Serena Williams receives a standing ovation from the crowd at #Wimbledon
Williams was forced to retire in the first round of after sustaining an apparent injury. pic.twitter.com/exFZxJJZGh
— ESPN (@espn) June 29, 2021
The seven-times singles champion quickly took a time out to get her leg treated and wrapped by an athletic trainer, so she could give the tournament another shot. However, the pain appeared to be too great for her — she even fell to the ground in extreme pain. It quickly became clear that Serena was unable to move very much, so she was forced to retire from the match.
The crowd definitely empathized with Serena, and they gave her a standing ovation to show her how much they appreciated her. Sadly, this means Serena will not win her record-tying 24th Grand Slam women’s singles title at Wimbledon. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles thus far, and was only one short of Margaret Court‘s modern record.
This is only the second time Serena has ever removed herself from Grand Slams due to an injury. She previously did so at Wimbledon in 1998.
We hope Serena recovers soon — this is so heartbreaking.