Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon Tuesday after injuring her right leg. The seven-time Wimbledon champion was up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich for her first-round match when she appeared to slip and hurt herself during a return. Serena left the court to receive medical attention and returned with the match tied at 3-3. She continued to play, but was clearly in pain, hobbling with tears in her eyes as she attempted to serve. Aiming to win a record-tying 24th grand-slam Serena tried to push through, but fell to her knees with a loud shriek and was forced to retire from the match.
Despite being in pain and tears, she acknowledged her fans as she left the court. Serena later shared a beautiful photo leaving the court in an all-white outfit, looking powerful, and graceful. “I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg.” Serena wrote in the caption, adding, “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.”
Serena’s injury comes after she announced she would not be participating in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She told reporters at Wimbledon Sunday, “I’m actually not on the Olympic list, not that I’m aware of … If so, then I shouldn’t be on it” As noted by ESPN, Serena won gold in the London Games, beating Maria Sharapova and won in doubles with her sister Venus Williams in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
For now, Serena isn’t sharing the many reasons why she decided against it. “There‘s a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision,” she said. “I don’t really want to -- I don’t feel like going into them today. Maybe another day.” Serena added, “I have not thought about it. In the past [the Olympics] has been a wonderful place for me. I really haven’t thought about it, so I’m going to keep not thinking about it.”