This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Serena Williams’ quest for history ended in tears in the first round as she was forced to retire against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus because of a leg injury.
— espnW (@espnW) June 29, 2021
The 39-year-old, who wore strapping on her right thigh from the start of the match, led 3-1 but slipped twice, and it became immediately apparent that she was in severe pain.
Williams, who was trying to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slams, had the trainer come out, and she even tried to play on.
But with the score at 3-3, and the injury unrelenting, she called it a day.
“I’m so sad for Serena,” Sasnovich said. “She’s a great champion, This happens sometimes in tennis.”
Serena Williams is in tears as she serves at 3-3.
She falls again, and retires.
She is in floods of tears as she waves to the crowd.
This absolutely cannot be how her #Wimbledon career ends. It can't. She HAS to come back.
She has to. pic.twitter.com/FQiRgemkda
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) June 29, 2021
The sight of Williams in pain and tears was hard to watch.
Williams had worked so hard to get back on the Court, having not played for three months after the Australian Open. She returned on clay and played in three events, including the French Open, where she reached the fourth round. Williams went into Wimbledon, having not played a warm-up event on grass, but as the No.6 seed and with her history, she shared the “favorite” status with Ash Barty.
There is no certainty she will be back.
Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) June 29, 2021
Their match was played on Centre Court, and the roof was closed on a rainy London day, but the humidity in the building led to moisture on the surface. That moisture caused Williams to slip and lose her balance at awkward angles both times.
Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion and the four-time runner-up, has won 23 Grand Slams tournaments in all. She’s now 77-2 in the first round of a Grand Slam. Her only other first-round exit came against Virginie Razzano of France in three sets at the 2012 French Open.
Since 2017 she has been trying to win her 24th Grand Slam, which would tie her with Margaret Court for most all-time. Many events have played a part in derailing her quest to do so, from the birth of her daughter to injuries and the interruption of play brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Remember Serena Williams like this. pic.twitter.com/O1aSOZUxk0
— Sisa (@BaddieTitan) June 29, 2021
As a fan, you have to wonder if she’ll reach the goal or if she’ll soon call it quits on a career where in my humble opinion and many others as well, she’s the “GOAT.”
I say that with much hesitancy as I know she won’t make that the last time we see her overpowering opponents with those powerful forehands and serves. Or her grunting and yelling after winning a significant point.
POV Point: I’m going to say she’ll win the U.S. Open and tie Court before 2021 is out.