American legend Serena Williams’s dreams of winning an eighth Wimbledon singles title and equalling Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record of 24 ended in tears this morning.
The 39-year-old was leading 3-1 in the first set of her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus when she slipped and had to have her left ankle examined.
She returned from receiving medical attention but called it quits at 3-3 and walked off Centre Court in tears, clearly heartbroken as she waved goodbye to the crowd, who gave her a huge wave of applause.
It is the first time in 20 appearances that Williams has bowed out in the first round of Wimbledon.
Multiple players, including Novak Djokovic, had slipped several times on Centre Court but this incident had far more serious repercussions for Williams, who was unable to continue.
Roger Federer won his match after Adrian Mannarino took a tumble early in the fifth set of their round one clash, and the Swiss maestro was horrified to hear Williams had suffered the same fate.
“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.”
Andy Murray also weighed in, tweeting: “Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.”
Tennis commentator Jose Morgado described Williams’ retirement as “terrible scenes”, journalist Jon Wertheim said it was “difficult to watch” while reporter Erik Gudris said he was “stunned”.
More to come …
Originally published as Wimbledon rocked by Serena’s sobbing