Serena Williams admits she is ‘heartbroken’ at being forced to withdraw from Wimbledon with an injury in the first round – after slipping over mid-match and leaving the court in tears

  • Williams’ quest to win a record-equaling 24th grand slam title at Wimbledon came to an end on Tuesday when she slipped in her first round match
  • She injured her right leg in the fall and despite receiving medical attention, had to pull out of the match just a few minutes after returning to the court 
  • The mother-of-one left the court in tears and later took to Instagram to share her ‘heartbreak’ over the incident, while thanking fans for their ‘support’ 
  • Williams, 39, gave no further details about her condition, simply stating that she had ‘injured her right leg’
  • The tennis pro had been hoping to win her eighth Wimbledon title which would have been her 24th grand slam title
  • She is expected to next appear on court at the US Open in New York, which stars on August 30, having announced that she will not play in the Olympics 

Serena Williams has admitted she was left ‘heartbroken’ after being forced to withdraw from Wimbledon in the first round because of an injury that she sustained when slipping over on Centre Court. 

The 39-year-old, who had been hoping to claim a record-equaling 24th grand slam title at the tournament in London, took to Instagram to share her upset over the incident, while thanking the fans for their ‘support’ as she left the court in tears. 

‘I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,’ she wrote. ‘My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on centre court so meaningful.’

The mother-of-one, who slipped during the sixth game of her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, did not share any other details about her injury – nor did she reveal whether it might prevent her from taking part in the upcoming US Open, which is due to begin on August 30. 

However, she did praise the crowds at Wimbledon, who cheered her on as she returned to the court following a 10-minute break, during which she received medical treatment, thanking them for showing her such ‘extraordinary warmth’.

Devastated: Serena Williams says she is ‘heartbroken’ after being forced to withdraw from Wimbledon in the first round with an injury following a mid-match slip  

Upset: The 39-year-old 23-time grand slam winner took to Instagram to share her devastation over the incident, while praising the fans for their ‘support’ as she left the court in tears

Ouch: Williams was clearly in pain after she slipped over in the fifth game of her match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, before leaving the court for medical treatment 

‘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. 

Williams, who is a seven-time singles’ winner at the All England Club, slipped in the fifth game of the match and left the Centre Court for treatment.

She returned 10 minutes later but after getting emotional at the incredibly enthusiastic reaction from the crowd, the pain was evident on Williams’ face as she tried to serve to her Belarusian opponent. 

Williams made a valiant attempt to carry on, but soon after her return to the court, she was forced to call it quits – once again putting her pursuit of a record-equaling 24th grand slam title on hold. 

The tennis pro tried and failed to hold back her tears as her tournament came to a very early end, with images showing the devastated mother-of-one breaking down on the court. 

Opponent Sasnovich said courtside: ‘I am so sad for Serena. She is a great champion. It happens sometimes in tennis, but all the best to her for her recovery.’

Williams’ injury occurred shortly after Adrian Mannarino had also been forced to retire on Centre Court against Roger Federer after the Frenchman slipped.

Mannarino hurt his right knee and it saw his encounter with the Swiss great brought to an early conclusion at the end of the fourth set. 

Tennis pro Andy Murray took to Twitter to express his sympathy for Williams, while noting that Wimbledon’s Centre Court was ‘extremely slippy’. 

‘Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there,’ he wrote shortly after she withdrew from her match. 

It was a similar story for Williams who had started her pursuit of a 24th grand slam in fine fashion after breaking her opponent in the fourth game.

An initial wobble to a Sasnovich return was followed by another moment of discomfort.

Immediately Williams, who already had heavy strapping on her right thigh, looked down to her left ankle in what was clearly an unwelcome moment of realization for the Florida resident.

Two double faults contributed towards Sasnovich breaking back before the trainer was called on and a medical time out eventually taken. 

While Williams made her way back onto Centre Court after a 10-minute delay, she was emotional as the crowd urged the seven-time champion to continue.

A couple of powerful winners raised brief hopes the veteran may be able to last but once it came to her serve she was unable to put weight on her left ankle. 

Williams appeared to suffer the problem when she slipped playing a shot with the score at 3-1

She was seen falling to the ground on Centre Court – with fellow tennis pro Andy Murray later posting on Twitter that the ground was ‘extremely slippy’  


Williams struggled to hold back her emotion and she was seen wiping tears from her face as she made her way off the court

It was a similar story for Williams who had started her pursuit of a 24th grand slam in fine fashion after breaking her opponent in the fourth game.

An initial wobble to a Sasnovich return was followed by another moment of discomfort.

Immediately Williams, who already had heavy strapping on her right thigh, looked down to her left ankle in what was clearly an unwelcome moment of realization for the Florida resident.

Two double faults contributed towards Sasnovich breaking back before the trainer was called on and a medical time out eventually taken. 

While Williams made her way back onto Centre Court after a 10-minute delay, she was emotional as the crowd urged the seven-time champion to continue. 

A couple of powerful winners raised brief hopes the veteran may be able to last but once it came to her serve she was unable to put weight on her left ankle. 

The tennis pro had been hoping to win her 24th grand slam title, which would equal the record currently held by Margaret Court

Opponent Sasnovich said courtside: ‘I am so sad for Serena. She is a great champion. It happens sometimes in tennis, but all the best to her for her recovery’

The American saluted the fans after she walked off the court to a standing ovation

In tears, Williams had to be helped off court and will not join her older sister in the second round after Venus had triumphed in a marathon contest with Mihaela Buzarnescu, which lasted two hours and 37 minutes on Court Three.

Earlier this month Serena Williams already confirmed she would not compete at the Olympics in Tokyo and her focus will be on recovering in time for the US Open later in the year.

The 39-year-old, who has four gold medals and made her debut at the Sydney Games in 2000, had previously said she was reluctant to go because she would not be able to take three-year-old daughter Olympia with her. 

Speaking at her pre-Wimbledon press conference on Sunday, Williams said: ‘I’m actually not on the Olympic list – not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it.’

She declined to explain her reasoning, adding: ‘There’s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.’

Williams joins Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in deciding not to compete in Tokyo, while Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have not yet committed to taking part.  

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