Serena Williams out of Wimbledon after stopping with injury

Sports

A referee helps Serena Williams of the US off the court after retiring from the women’s singles first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus on day two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday June 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams is out of Wimbledon after she stopped playing her first-round match in the first set Tuesday because of a left leg injury.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion was serving in the fifth game at Centre Court when she lost her footing near the baseline while hitting a forehand against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Williams winced and stepped gingerly between points, clearly troubled. After dropping that game, she took a medical timeout and tried to continue playing.

A crying Williams bit her upper lip and covered her face between points. The crowd tried to offer support and encouragement.

But eventually, the 39-year-old American dropped to her knees, and the chair umpire came over to check on her.

Williams then made her way up to the net to shake hands with Sasnovich, conceding with the score 3-all, 15-30.

Williams raised her racket with right arm and put her left palm on her chest. Then she waved to the spectators.

Officially, it will go in the books as only the second first-round Grand Slam exit of Williams’ career.

She is a seven-time singles champion at the All England Club, including most recently in 2016. Williams also was the runner-up at Wimbledon each of the last two times it was contested, in 2018 and 2019, before the tournament was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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AP Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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