A sickening injury suffered by American Bethanie Mattek-Sands cast a cloud over Wimbledon on Thursday.
The incident also called into question the response of the medical services at the All England Club as she lay screaming on the turf.
The 32-year-old’s knee appeared to buckle underneath her during her second-round match with Romanian Sorana Cirstea on Court 17.
“Help me. F***. Help me please,” Mattek-Sands shouted.
Cirstea climbed over the net to check on Mattek-Sands and was clearly upset by what she saw.
“It was heartbreaking to see her that way,” said Cirstea. “Her knee was in a very weird position. I’ve never seen anything like this, probably except in the movies.”
Mattek-Sands was initially comforted by Cirstea, her own husband Justin and her opponent’s physio.
When paramedics arrived they gave her lengthy treatment including oxygen, but her screams could still be heard across large parts of the grounds.
Mattek-Sands was eventually taken to hospital while Wimbledon said she had suffered an “acute knee injury”, which Cirstea felt was a dislocated kneecap.
Many spectators were visibly shaken by the events, as was Mattek-Sands’ doubles partner Lucie Safarova, who went to the court when she heard about the injury. The duo were favourites to add Wimbledon to their US Open, Australian Open and French Open titles.