Serena Williams’ Wimbledon 2021 ended in premature heartache as she was forced to retire through injury. This has sparked fears that it could be the final Wimbledon appearance for the 23-time Grand Slam-winning veteran tennis star.
The surfaces were more slippery than usual in the early days of this year’s Wimbledon, largely due to heavy rainfall in London and the surrounding area in the build-up to the tournament. Several athletes lost their footing on the sleek grass surfaces, but none quite as bad as America’s Serena Williams.
The 39 year old was 3-1 up in the first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus when she slipped on the wet grass. Her right leg slipped sideways and her left ankle went the opposite way, appearing to cause a strain. Despite clearly struggling, Serena attempted to soldier on. Ultimately, however, the 23-time Grand Slam winner was forced to retire at 3-3, bringing her Wimbledon campaign to a premature and heartbreaking end.
Visibly upset, Serena still took the time to wave farewell to all four corners of the crowd inside Wimbledon’s center court before making her departure. Was that Serena Williams’ final farewell to Wimbledon? If so, it differently wasn’t the one her glittering career deserves.;ab_channel=Wimbledon
Serena Williams currently has 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, which is just one behind Margret Court’s all-time record of 24. Serena has made no secret of the fact that her intention is to not only equal Court’s record, but surpass it before she hangs up her racket for good.
However, Williams’ last win came back in the 2017 Australian Open. Since then, she has been to a further four Grand Slam finals, losing them all. Despite that, she has remained focused on her goal and went into this Wimbledon tournament as number 8 in the world rankings.
Now aged 39 though, it’s almost impossible to see how she could bounce back from such an injury to win one, let alone two more Grand Slam titles. If there’s anyone who could stage such a comeback at such an age though - it’s Serena Williams!
Six-time Grand Slam men’s singles champion, Boris Becker, has admitted he believes this may be Williams’ final farewell to Wimbledon.
“It’s the last thing that a champion like Serena wants to do - leave her favorite court with a walkover”, said Becker, adding “we’ve got to get used to the fact that this might be the last time.”
He then went on to explain that injury recovery at her age would make it tough for her to come back and compete at the highest level. Williams also suffered an injury at the French Open, which she may well have still been carrying going into Wimbledon.
Can Serena do the impossible and bounce back from such an injury, or has father time finally taken its toll? Will she now have to settle for a career-ending figure of 23 Grand Slam titles, and relinquish her chance to go down in history as the GOAT of women’s singles tennis?
Let us know your thoughts via Twitter @theSFjournal!
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