Serena Williams cops brutal new blow after Wimbledon disaster

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·Sports Editor
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Serena Williams, pictured here after being forced to retire hurt in the opening round at Wimbledon.
Serena Williams was forced to retire hurt in the opening round at Wimbledon. (Photo by AELTC/Jed Leicester - Pool/Getty Images)

Serena Williams' first-round exit at Wimbledon has seen the 23-time grand slam champion fall a staggering eight places in the world rankings.

Williams was forced to retire hurt in her opening match at the All England Club after slipping on the grass and injuring her right leg.

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The 39-year-old was leading 3-1 against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus when she had to have her leg examined.

She returned from receiving medical attention but called it quits at 3-3 and walked off Centre Court in tears.

It was the first time Williams has ever exited Wimbledon in the first round and has resulted in a brutal fall down the WTA rankings.

Because she made the final the last time Wimbledon was played in 2019, she was defending a huge haul of points in 2021.

But thanks to her first-round exit she has fallen eight places in the latest rankings update, tumbling from World No.8 to 16th.

It marks the first time she has fallen outside the top 10 in over two years.

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"I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg," she said in a statement posted on her Instagram account.

However she did not reveal the seriousness of the injury which cost her another chance to equal Margaret Court's all-time grand slam singles titles haul of 24.

"My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on centre court so meaningful," she said in her statement.

"Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on — and off — the court meant the world to me."

Ash Barty could join Serena in illustrious feat

World No.1 Ash Barty made the most of Williams' first-round exit as she claimed her second grand slam title with victory at Wimbledon.

Barty's courageous and captivating Wimbledon triumph, two years after claiming the French Open, has raised the genuine prospect of the Aussie joining legends Margaret Court, Williams, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert as the only women in the 53-year era of professional tennis to win all four grand slam events.

Barty could conceivably have the chance to complete the fabled feat at the Australian Open in January.

If she can back up her 2018 doubles triumph at the US Open, Barty will head to Melbourne Park with the chance to join the all-time greats of tennis as the winner of all four slams.

Ashleigh Barty, pictured here with her trophy after winning Wimbledon.
Ashleigh Barty celebrates with her trophy after winning Wimbledon. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

"She is an extremely hard worker. She has put in a lot of time and effort. You don't do what Ash has done without putting in the time and effort," coach Craig Tyzzer said.

"To maintain that position at (world) No.1, to play the level of tennis she has, especially this year, she has put a lot of work in in the off-season, an enormous amount of work.

"And then she has really maintained it in the time we haven't been able to do it, when we haven't been playing, she has really put in some big efforts and lots of work to make sure her body has been right.

"Probably the most disappointing thing was that her preparation for the French was amazing.

"It was probably the best form I have ever seen her in coming into the French, so that was pretty disappointing for her to not be able to play to where she wanted to be."

with agencies

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