Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon this year after suffering a knee injury in the middle of her first match. During the first set of her Round 1 match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Williams slipped on the grass while planting one of her legs resulting in the knee injury.
At first Williams only exited briefly and had the intention to finish the match regardless of her knee. After she was quickly treated by a trainer she returned and attempted to continue the match as tears streamed down her face from the pain.
Williams was visibly trying not to put any extra weight on her injured leg and was able to manage playing for a little while before she fell to the ground after landing on her knee. She took to Instagram later that day to address her devastation.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg. 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 off the court.”
This is the second time Williams was forced to withdraw from a Grand Slam competition due to an injury. The other time was also at Wimbledon in 1998, 23 years ago.
The rainy weather has been affecting the condition of some of the courts at Wimbledon this year, leading to slippery grass. Williams was the second player forced to retire from the competition due to an injury caused by slipping on the grass.
Adrian Mannarino of France also slipped on the grass and injured his knee right as he was winning in his match against Roger Federer. Novak Djokovic also slipped numerous times throughout his match on Monday but was able to avoid injury.
With both Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep not playing in the Grand Slam this year, and number one seed Ash Barty dealing with a hip injury, it seemed as though Williams was going to have a relatively easy time winning what would’ve been her 24th Grand Slam.
It’s unclear whether or not Williams will be able to play in the US Open this year, as the extent of her injury has not been determined or released to the public. There is a chance she won’t be able to return to the court until next season.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.