Home SPORTS GIST SERENA WILLIAMS WITHDRAWS FROM WIMBLEDON DUE TO INJURY

SERENA WILLIAMS WITHDRAWS FROM WIMBLEDON DUE TO INJURY

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Oduola Farouq A.

Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from her first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Wimbledon on Tuesday due to a right leg injury.

Williams slipped with a 3-1 lead in the opening set and had to take an injury break at the end of the game to undergo treatment. She returned to the court, but her range of motion was clearly restricted.

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Williams lost her balance near the baseline while playing a forehand while serving in the fifth game at Centre Court. She winced and took a cautious step between points, evidently distressed.

She took a medical timeout after losing that game and attempted to continue playing. As the crowd tried to provide support and encouragement, a sobbing Williams bit her top lip and hid her face between points. The chair umpire walked over to check on the 39-year-old American after she sank to her knees.

Before leaving the court, she offered an impassioned wave to the audience and put her palm over her heart, fighting back tears.

“After hurting my right leg today, I was devastated to have to withdraw,” she wrote. “My heartfelt thanks and love go out to the fans and teammates who make being on center court so special. It meant the world to me today to feel the incredible love and support of the audience as I went on — and off — the court.”

This is only the second time in Williams’ illustrious career that she has retired from a big match. In 1998, the other incident occurred in the third round at the All-England Club.

“Of course, I’m heartbroken for Serena; she’s a tremendous champion,” Sasnovich remarked. “It happens in tennis occasionally, but best of luck to her and her recovery.”

Williams came into the event looking for her 24th major title, which would have matched her for the most ever with Margaret Court. She last won a Grand Slam in 2017, when she won the Australian Open.

Her absence worsens a wide-open women’s draw. Even before the event began, reigning champion Simona Halep and four-time major champion Naomi Osaka withdrew.

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