That’s it for Serena Williams at Wimbledon.
The tennis great was forced to retire early Tuesday after suffering a leg injury in her first round matchup against unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
In the first set — up 3-1 — Williams needed an injury timeout at the end of the fifth game in order to receive treatment after losing her footing near the baseline while hitting her forehand.
She would go on to drop the game, and was seen crying and covering her face in between points. She attempted to continue playing, but Williams dropped to her knees in the seventh game, forcing the umpire to come over and Williams retired.
She waved to the cheering Wimbledon crowd as she fought back tears on her way out.
We’re heartbroken for you, Serena.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2021
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” Williams said in a statement. “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.”
This marks the first time Williams has not made it past the first round of Wimbledon, and just the second time in her illustrious career where she’s had to retire from a match at a major.
“Of course I’m so sad for Serena, she’s a great champion,” Sasnovich said. “It happens sometimes in tennis, but all the best for her and her recovery.”
Williams is a seven-time Wimbledon champion and was in pursuit of her 24th Grand Slam title before having to retire. Her last Grand Slam title was in 2017 at the Australian Open.
It was the second match of the day that ended because of injury.
Earlier in the day, Adrian Mannarino suffered a knee injury in his match against Roger Federer.
The first two days of Wimbledon have been impacted by rain, causing the roof to be closed at Center Court. Federer felt that the closed roof may have played a part in the conditions of the grass.
“I do feel it feels a tad more slippery, maybe, under the roof,” Federer said. “I don’t know if it’s just a gut feeling. You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down. I do feel it’s drier during the day. With the wind and all that stuff, it takes the moist out of the grass. But this is obviously terrible.”
“This is obviously terrible that it’s back-to-back matches, and it hits Serena as well,” Federer said. “Oh, my God, I can’t believe it.”
Over the weekend, Williams let it be known that she will not be participating at the Tokyo Olympics in July.
“There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision,” she said. “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. 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.”
Chris Widmaier — the U.S. Tennis Association spokesman — told the Associated Press that they respect Williams’ decision.
“Ultimately, the decision to participate in the Games is an individual one, and as we emerge from the pandemic, we recognize and respect the personal decisions made by our top athletes regarding participation in the Tokyo Games. Although we fully support the IOC and the [International Tennis Federation], and have encouraged our athletes to participate, we recognize the fact that in this unique time, some athletes may choose not to participate for personal reasons.”
Joe Morgan is the sports reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
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