Another opportunity for Serena Williams to separate herself from all other tennis players—man or woman—has been maligned due to a heartbreaking injury.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion was forced to retire from her first-round match at the All England Club against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Tuesday, June 29, after she slipped and hurt herself during a return. Williams, leading 3-1 in the first set, left the court to receive medical attention. Upon her return and the match tied at 3-3, Williams then buckled at the baseline midpoint before gingerly walking off the court in tears, acknowledging the fans as she departed.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post. “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,” added Williams, who was aiming to win a record-tying 24th grand-slam title.
The forfeit marks her first ever first-round loss at Wimbledon.
Prior to Tuesday, the iconic tennis titan had a 19-0 record in first-round matches at the famed tournament, where Williams was aiming to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
Below are some reactions from the sports-loving community, encouraging a safe and healthy recovery for Serena Williams, which you can read underneath.