Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams had to bow out of Wimbledon 2021 after she stopped playing her first-round match because of an injury.
With Williams leading 3-1 in the first set, the 39-year-old American appeared to slip and hurt herself during a return.
Williams’s dreams of winning an eighth Wimbledon singles title and equalling Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record of 24 ended in tears when she slipped and had to have her left ankle examined. Williams left the court to receive medical attention.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” said Williams in an Instagram post. “My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on center court so meaningful.
Williams returned to continue, but with the score of 3-all, her leg buckled during a rally and she crumpled to the court. A crying Williams bit her upper lip and covered her face between points. The tennis legend received a lot of support from the crowd but eventually dropped to her knees, and called it quits.
Williams then made her way up to the net to shake hands with Sasnovich, conceding with the score 3-all, 15-30. Bidding a tearful adieu, she raised her racket and put her left palm on her chest.
Officially, it will go in the books as only the second first-round Grand Slam exit of Williams’ career.