Serena Williams withdrew from her first-round Wimbledon match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Tuesday, retiring due to an injury. While holding a 3-1 lead in the first set, Williams slipped and took an injury timeout when the game ended to be treated.
After returning to the court, her movement was visibly affected, and she played one full game, which Sasnovich won. Williams was in tears when she went to start the next game with a serve, and she dropped to the court on the third point and retired. The match, which Williams had been playing with her right thigh fully taped, ended at 3-all in the first set.
We're heartbroken for you, Serena.June 29, 2021
As she left the court, she turned and waved to the crowd, who applauded her with a standing ovation, her hand over her heart as she fought back tears. "Of course I'm so sad for Serena, she's a great champion," Sasnovich said, via ESPN. "It happens sometimes in tennis, but all the best for her and her recovery."
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
Williams is a seven-time Wimbledon champion, winning at the tournament as a singles player for the first time in 2002 and most recently in 2016. This is the second time in 79 major tournaments that she has exited in the first round, the last being the 2012 French Open. She had entered Tuesday's match 19-0 in the opening round at Wimbledon, the most wins without a loss in opening matches at tournament among women in the Open Era (since 1968).prevnext
In a previous match on Centre Court, Adrian Mannarino slipped and fell on the same side of the court and retired at the start of the next set against Roger Federer.
"Oh, my God, I can't believe it," Federer said when he was told of Williams' retirement that happened during his post-match press conference, via NBC Sports. "It's always been like this. I feel for a lot of players it's super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft. As the tournament progresses, usually it gets harder and easier to move on."prevnext
On Sunday, Williams confirmed that she will not be competing at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, though she did not share the reasoning behind her decision.
"I'm actually not on the Olympic list, not that I'm aware of," Williams, who has won four gold medals at multiple Olympic Games throughout her career, told reporters at Wimbledon on Sunday, via ESPN. "If so, then I shouldn't be on it." She added, "There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don't really want to — I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.
"I have not thought about it," Williams continued. "In the past [the Olympics] has been a wonderful place for me. I really haven't thought about it, so I'm going to keep not thinking about it."prevnext
Williams' next major tournament is now likely to be the U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 30. Should she win there, she will have 24 Grand Slam singles titles, which would tie Margaret Court's record 24 majors. Williams has been chasing her her 24th title for several tournaments and will have another chance at the Open.prev