A teary-eyed Serena Williams was forced to retire from first-round action at Wimbledon on Tuesday after sliding on the grass court and sustaining a right leg injury at the All England Club.
Williams, the No. 6 seed, was tied 3-3 in the first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus when she retired. Playing on Center Court, she slid on the damp grass and hurt her leg. She took an injury break and played on, in obvious pain, before finally having to stop.
The roof was closed on a rainy London day, but throughout Tuesday's telecast, announcers said humidity in the building led to moisture on the surface.
Williams did not speak with reporters but later posted on Instagram, "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 on -- and off -- the court meant the world to me."
Wimbledon tweeted after Williams retired, "We're heartbroken for you, Serena"
Earlier in the day, Adrian Mannarino of France was leading Roger Federer two sets to one in the fourth set when he slipped and fell. Federer was up 4-2 in the set at the time, but Mannarino tried to fight on, lost the set, and then retired.
"You have to move very carefully out there and if you push too hard at the wrong moment, you do go down," Federer said of the conditions after his match.
Williams, 39, is a seven-time Wimbledon champion and four-time runner-up, and has won 23 Grand Slam tournaments in all. Williams is now 77-2 in the first round at a Grand Slam. Her only other first-round exit came against Virginie Razzano of France in three sets at the 2012 French Open.
She has been trying to win her 24th Grand Slam, which would tie Margaret Court for the most all time, since 2017. Giving birth to her daughter, injuries and the interruption of play because of the coronavirus pandemic have stalled her quest.
--Field Level Media