Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion from the US, has been forced to pull out of the ongoing Wimbledon due to an injury in her first-round match against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
On Tuesday, Serena, who had arrived on court with her right thigh heavily strapped, was leading Aliaksandra by a break in the first set at 3-1.
Later serving at 15-15, the star tennis players slipped briefly at the back of the court and was finally forced to retire in the seventh game as she had requested for a physio after losing serve in the fifth game and received off-court medical timeout before returning to the court.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” Serena said in an Instagram post late on Tuesday night.
“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 added.
“It was so nice of an atmosphere out here and it was my first time playing on Centre Court. I’m so sad for Serena,” Aliaksandra said on-court. “She’s a great champion. It happens sometimes in tennis, but (I’m wishing) all the best for her for the best recovery.
“It’s very sad for me, honestly, when your opponent feels bad. She’s a great champion, and it’s sad story. I was happy to play against her. She’s a great champion. She has a lot of Slams. It was a dream of my dad. He dreamed for eight years in a row, he just wrote me before the match, that I would play with Serena in Wimbledon, and it happened,” added Aliaksandra.