Twenty-three-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams withdrew from Wimbledon during the first set of her opening round match on Tuesday with a leg injury, ending one of the early betting favorite’s latest bid for a record-tying 24th major title.
Williams slipped during a point in the fifth game and appeared to be in severe pain. Her opponent, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, then broke Williams’ serve to cut the American’s lead to 3-2.
At that point, Williams limped to her chair and took an injury timeout after a trainer looked at her right leg. She then returned to the match, but limped for the remainder of her time on the court. Sasnovich held serve to tie the set at 3-3. Williams began to serve her next game, crying before the first point. She fell to the court on the third point of that game, at which point she retired from the match.
This marks only the second time in Williams’ career that she exited a Grand Slam in the first round. She previously did so at the 2012 French Open.
“I’m so sad for Serena,” Sasnovich said after the match ended. “She’s a great champion. It happens sometimes in tennis but all the best for her recovery.”
Williams came into Wimbledon as a +900 pick to win the tournament, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Most oddsmakers considered her a near co-favorite with Ashleigh Barty. With Williams’ exit, Barty now ranks as the +440 favorite to win the ladies Wimbledon title, ahead of Aryna Sabalenka (+700) and Garbine Muguruza (+750). Sasnovich remains a +24000 longshot to win the title.
The 39-year-old Williams last won a Grand Slam title at the 2017 Australian Open.