Serena Williams is “heartbroken” about having her time at Wimbledon suddenly cut short following an injury during her first match.
Williams was unexpectedly forced to withdraw from her first-round Wimbledon match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Tuesday, June 29, after sustaining an injury to her right leg. After gaining a 3-1 lead in the first set, Williams slipped on the court and took a timeout to have her injury treated. Her troubles continued throughout the game, coming to a head when she appeared to upset her injury while serving. The 23-time Grand Slam winner tried to power through the pain, but eventually succumbed to it, falling to her knees in tears in front of the crowd.
The seven-time Wimbledon singles champion opted out of making press rounds ahead of her departure from the tournament but offered fans an update on Instagram, revealing that she’s “heartbroken” over the way things turned out this go-round.
“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” she shared. “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.”
Wimbledon’s Twitter account sympathized with Williams and let her know that they’re “heartbroken” as well. “We’re heartbroken for you, Serena. Our seven-time singles champion is forced to retire from The Championships 2021 through injury #Wimbledon”
Williams’ fans were nothing but supportive of the tennis champ’s efforts and filled her comments with well-wishes.
“i cried with you and for you. Get well soon. The Summer of Serena is coming soon”
“Speedy recovery Queen 👸 ❤️”
“Heroes always get back on their feet. You will be one of them. You‘ve proven time and time again. 😍🔥👏”
Seventeen-year-old tennis phenom Coco Gauff, who has been vocal about her admiration of Williams, witnessed the incident and told reporters that it hurt her so much to see that she had to turn away. “Yeah, it was not easy to watch,” she said. “Actually I turned away. I was in the gym actually stretching. I turned away because stuff like that makes me … really emotional.”
“I mean, I wish [Serena] the best. I wish that hopefully, she can have a speedy recovery,” she continued. “Yeah, you could tell she was really emotional. Nobody ever wants to retire, but especially at a Grand Slam, a place as special as Wimbledon after waiting two years to come back. The only thing I can do is wish her well wishes and hope she’ll be back in time for the hard court season.”
Serena’s sudden departure from the tournament comes weeks after Naomi Osaka revealed she would be bowing out of this year’s championship as well, due to mental health reasons.