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Serena Williams withdraws from Wimbledon after on-court injury

The tennis legend’s recent match took a heartbreaking turn

Serena Williams of the U.S. at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.
Serena Williams of the U.S. is shown after falling to the ground during the women’s singles first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus on day two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
Associated Press

Serena Williams was on a quest to make history at Wimbledon this year. The tennis superstar has already won 23 Grand Slam titles and needs only one more win to tie the all-time record, reports ESPN.

  • Instead, Williams' first-round match took a heartbreaking turn when she slipped on the grass, suffering an injury, and was forced to retire from the match, says Fox News.

Why did Serena Williams withdraw?

In her first-round match against Belarusian player Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Williams took an early lead. During the fifth game, she slipped while planting her right leg and suffered an injury, says Yahoo Sports. Williams sought medical treatment and tried to continue playing, visibly in pain.

  • Later, Williams slipped again, falling to her knees and shrieking in pain. She could not continue and retired from the match, withdrawing from Wimbledon, says CNBC.
  • Williams was not the only athlete to slip on the Centre Court. Earlier in the day, Adrian Mannarino took a similar fall and was also forced to retire, says ESPN.

A statement from court officials via ESPN emphasized that the courts had been cleared for play. The statement did acknowledge that the region had experienced its wettest conditions in decades which caused added moisture on the grass.

How serious is her injury?

According to ESPN, Williams injured her right leg near the “top of her hamstring, in the glute.” No recovery time has been specified.

  • Williams did not speak to the media after the match, but posted to her Instagram later in the evening, reports Fox News.

“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,” she said in her Instagram post.

What’s next for Serena Williams?

This may have been Williams’ last time at Wimbledon, reports ESPN. The 39-year-old has dominated the sport for decades and remained evasive about when she would retire.

  • Williams will not be competing in the Tokyo Olympics, despite qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team, reports ESPN.
  • The next competition for Williams is likely the U.S. Open, per ESPN.

Regardless, Williams has secured her tennis legacy and, according to ESPN analyst Pam Shriver, “she doesn’t need to prove anything else.”