Going into the 2017 Wimbledon Championships of Tennis, the driving topic had been the high possibility that Spanish star Rafael Nadal, former World Number 1 and currently ranked 2 will overcome current Number 1 and defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. But a chance is a powerful force in sports, capable of favoring a player one time, then ruining his chances on the next.

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands has just managed to make up for a bad first set in her Women’s Singles Round 1 match to prevail against her Polish opponent Magda Linette. All seems set for her next matchup, Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

But ill luck struck her down during the third set with a bad injury to her right knee.

‘It hurts’

It was a bad and painful end to Bethanie Mattek-Sand’s campaign here in this year’s Wimbledon. Trying to make a strong start on set 3 of her second round match after tying sets with Sorana Cirstea, Mattek-Sands attempted to rush close to the net for a strong return drive when she abruptly collapsed to the ground clutching her right knee. Amid loud cries of pain, her opponent Cirstea crossed the net and shouted for medics after noticing the bad state of the American’s knee.

As medical personnel and Mattek-Sand’s husband rushed to the field, Cirstea turned away aghast at the seeming extent of her opponent’s injury, tennis match completely forgotten.

In the midst of waiting for the ambulance, Bethanie was screaming in unbelievable pain, at one point actually asking to be put under with anesthetics.

After application of morphine she was gingerly transferred to a stretcher, then a gurney, with a sheet thrown over her legs to cover up her busted knee. “Her knee was in a very weird position,”Cirstea recalls later of what she saw.

“I’ve never seen anything like this probably except in the movies. I panicked a little bit as well.”

Dream dashed

While Bethanie Mattek-Sands no longer in the running for the Wimbledon Women’s Singles is bad enough, she also ends any chances of going for a Grand Slam Doubles win with her partner Lucie Safarova. The Czech tennis player was in the locker room when the incident occurred, but upon being informed she rushed into courtside and was visibly in tears as her doubles partner and good friend was tended to, and later taken away by ambulance.

Their Women’s Doubles chances had been especially good, as Mattek-Sands was the latest and current World Number 1 in doubles.

At present Mattek-Sands is in hospital following her devastating injury, described by medical examiners as “acute.” It should be noted that the American had a torn medial collateral ligament in the exact same knee back in 2013, and the action at Wimbledon and other tennis tournaments this year may have aggravated it anew.