Roger Federer and Andy Murray have questioned the slippery nature of the Centre Court at Wimbledon after Serena Williams became its latest victim. The 23-time women's singles Grand Slam champion withdrew with an injury just six games into her first round clash against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The American, who was tipped to challenge for a 24th major title, was already in tears while serving in the seventh game of the first set when she slipped and went down. She made the decision to retire from the match serving at 15-30.
Williams was distraught walking out of the court, but the great champion still managed to perform her trademark twirl and acknowledge the standing ovation from the crowd on Centre Court. She admitted after that she was "heartbroken" to withdraw following an injury to her right leg.
"I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg. 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," Williams wrote on Instagram.
It was the second injury in the space of two matches on centre court after Adrian Mannarino twisted his knee when he was two sets to one up against Federer. He was eventually forced to pull out at the start of the fifth set, handing Federer his first win on grass this season.
The Swiss ace admitted after the game that it was slippery out on court and was upset after being informed that Williams had suffered the same fate as the Frenchman.
"Oh, my God, I can't believe it," Federer said, as quoted by the Guardian. "It's obviously terrible that it's back-to-back matches and it hits Serena as well. You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down."
Murray, who had played on Centre Court just the day before, was also sympathetic towards the American tennis great. He reacted on social media suggesting that it is not easy to move on Center Court owing to the extremely slippery conditions especially when the roof is closed.
"Brutal for Serena Williams but centre court is extremely slippy out there. Not easy to move out there," Murray wrote.
Federer and Murray were not the only players to complain about the slippery conditions. World number one Novak Djokovic and young American sensation Coco Gauff had also spoken about the surface following their matches on the opening day of the tournament at SW19.