Serena Williams had never before lost in the first round of Wimbledon, but today she slipped on the grass twice and was forced to retire from her opener against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams entered her Tuesday’s match with a 19-0 record in the first round of Wimbledon. The sixth-seeded 39-year-old arrived with heavy strapping on her right thigh, but she took control early on with a 3-1 lead.
Williams slipped briefly in the fifth game and received medical treatment, both on and off the court. As Sasnovich leveled to 3-3, Williams slipped again and shortly afterwards made a tough decision to retire from the match that lasted six and a half games.
We’re heartbroken for you, Serena.
Our seven-time singles champion is forced to retire from The Championships 2021 through injury#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/vpcW1UN78s
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2021
Tearful Williams left Centre Court to a standing ovation, having retired from a Grand Slam match only for the second time in her career and for the first time since 1998.
Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) June 29, 2021
In an on-court interview, the world No.100 Sasnovich commented:
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.