Two matches, of two emotional favourites, ended in exactly the same fashion.
But while it was Roger Federer’s opponent, Adriano Marranino, who had to retire hurt after slipping and injuring his knee, it was Serena Williams who lost control on the slick grass and hurtled out of Wimbledon only six games into her campaign.
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While serving at 3-1 in the first set, 23-time major champion Williams lost her footing and seemed to have done some damage to her ankle.
We're heartbroken for you, Serena.
Our seven-time singles champion is forced to retire from The Championships 2021 through injury#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/vpcW1UN78s
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 29, 2021
Even though she took a medical timeout at 3-2 and returned to the court, the comeback was short-lived. After losing the sixth game, Williams conceded her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-3.
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The 39-year-old was chasing the elusive 24th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2021. She is only one short of the all-time record of 24 singles majors set by Australia’s Margaret Court.
Andy Murray, who played on Centre Court on the opening Monday, said the turf was very slippery.
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“Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there,” Murray tweeted. “Not easy to move out there.”
Brutal for @serenawilliams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there.
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) June 29, 2021
Williams had followed on court a few minutes after Mannarino’s dream outing turned into a nightmare. The Frenchman was two sets to one ahead of Federer.
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Even though the Swiss launched a comeback in the fourth he was saved of a severe test in the decider as Mannarino slipped and hurt his knee.
The Frenchman had to retire at 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 2-6.
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“The court feels a tad more slippery under the roof,” said Federer. “I am moving more carefully, terrible that its back to back matches and it has hit Serena as well.”