Serena Williams out of Wimbledon with leg injury

Day Two: The Championships - Wimbledon 2021
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Serena Williams withdrew from Wimbledon during her first-round match with a leg injury.

Williams, after slipping behind the baseline on an earlier point, was broken by Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus to get back on serve in the first set at 3-2.

She limped toward her chair, was looked at by a trainer and left Centre Court during an injury timeout.

Williams, playing the whole match with her right thigh fully wrapped, returned and played one full game before retiring. Sasnovich won it. Williams was in tears to start the next game on serve, dropped to the court on the third point and retired.

She spun and waved to the crowd as she left the court to applause, then buckled over as she neared an exit that’s out of full view to the crowd. Williams was grabbing the back of her wrapped upper right thigh.

“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” was posted on her social media two hours later. “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.”

Sasnovich said the court felt “very slippery.”

“When she did the angle, I couldn’t run because it was so slippery,” the 100th-ranked player said.

WIMBLEDON DRAWS: Men | Women

Williams, 39, is a seven-time Wimbledon champion who reached the final in her last four appearances at the All England Club.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, exited in the first round for the second time in 79 career majors (2012 French Open).

In the previous Centre Court match, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino slipped and fell on the same side of the court and ultimately retired at the start of the next and fifth set against Roger Federer.

“Oh, my God, I can’t believe it,” Federer said when told of Williams’ retirement that happened during his post-match press conference. “It’s always been like this [court conditions]. I feel for a lot of players it’s super key to get through those first two rounds because the grass is more slippery, it is more soft. As the tournament progresses, usually it gets harder and easier to move on.”

Before learning of Williams’ retirement, Federer said he thought the court was playing normally.

“I do feel it feels a tad more slippery maybe under the roof,” he said. The roof was closed for Federer and Williams’ matches due to rain. “I don’t know if it’s just a gut feeling. You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down.”

Also Tuesday, Venus Williams became the fourth-oldest woman to win a Wimbledon singles match. Coco Gauff, the 20th seed in her first Wimbledon match since her breakout fourth-round run in 2019, beat British wildcard Francesca Jones 7-5, 6-4.

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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