Serena Williams quits Wimbledon in tears after devastating accident

Serena Williams, pictured here in floods of tears as she quit Wimbledon in the first round.
Serena Williams was in floods of tears as she quit Wimbledon in the first round. Image: Getty

Serena Williams was forced to retire from her first-round match at Wimbledon on Tuesday after a freak accident in the opening set.

Williams was serving in the fifth game on Centre Court - where the roof was shut because of rain much of the afternoon - when she lost her footing near the baseline while hitting a forehand against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

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Williams was clearly troubles as she winced and stepped gingerly between points.

After dropping that game, she took a medical timeout and tried to continue playing.

Williams burst into tears and bit her upper lip, covering her face between points.

The crowd tried to offer support and encouragement, however the 39-year-old succumbed to the injury soon after.

The American dropped to her knees and the chair umpire came over to check on her.

Williams then made her way up to the net to shake hands with Sasnovich, conceding with the score 3-all, 15-30.

"Of course, I am so sad for Serena," said Sasnovich, who is ranked 100th and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018 for her best grand slam result.

"She is a great champion. It happens sometimes in tennis. But all the best for her. Best recovery."

Serena Williams, pictured here in tears after being forced to retire hurt.
Serena Williams was in tears after being forced to retire hurt. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Roger Federer's reaction when he found out what happened perfectly summed up the situation.

"Oh my God, I can't believe it," he said in his post-match press conference.

His first-round opponent Adrian Mannarino of France also retired with a knee injury after a slip in the match immediately before Williams'.

"I do feel it feels a tad more slippery maybe under the roof. I don't know if it's just a gut feeling," Federer said.

"You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down.

"I feel for a lot of players, it's super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft. As the tournament progresses, usually it gets harder and easier to move on."

Andy Murray tweeted: “Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.”

Spanish tennis commentator Jose Morgado described it as “terrible scenes”, while US journalist Jon Wertheim said it was “difficult to watch”.

It will go in the record books as only the second first-round grand slam exit of Williams' stellar career.

Her departure as she chased Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slams makes a wide-open women's draw even more so.

Defending champion Simona Halep and four-time major champ Naomi Osaka withdrew before the tournament started.

Williams is a seven-time singles champion at the All England Club, including most recently in 2016.

She also was the runner-up at Wimbledon each of the last two times it was held, in 2018 and 2019, before the tournament was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

with agencies

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