Serena Williams' hopes of an eighth Wimbledon title are over after an ankle injury forced the world number eight to retire from her first-round match with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The seven-time singles' winner at the All England Club slipped in the sixth game and left the Centre Court for treatment.

She returned 10 minutes later but after getting emotional at the reception afforded to her by the crowd, the pain was evident on Williams' face as she tried to serve to her Belarusian opponent.

After the best efforts of the 39-year-old, she had to call it quits and it means her pursuit of a record-equalling 24th grand slam is again put on hold.

World number one Ashleigh Barty was made to work hard before sealing a triumphant return to grass with victory over Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round at Wimbledon.

The top seed battled through after one hour and 44 minutes on Centre Court following a 6-1 6-7 (1) 6-1 win over an opponent who was playing at the All England Club for the last time.

Suarez Navarro will retire at the end of the season having only recently recovered from Hodgkin lymphoma and was afforded a special reception on her final appearance at SW19.

Barty was back in London after a fourth-round exit two years ago eager to justify her number one seeding and continue an encouraging run of form which has seen her clinch three titles already in 2021.

Rain was the initial winner with play suspended early in the first set to allow the roof to be closed as drizzle came down.

It was an unfortunate time to stop for Suarez Navarro, who came back out looking to defend a break point, but she had little answer to the power of Barty.

Another break occurred soon after and the Australian sealed the opener in 25 minutes to suggest no rustiness after a two-year absence on grass.

Back in 2019, Suarez Navarro had also made the fourth round and was eager to enjoy her final time at the Championships.

The 32-year-old held her first two serves of the second set and then forced a break point. It was not taken but mother Maria Dolores was on hand to capture special moments from her phone having snapped away at practice last week.

It was the ninth game of the second set when Barty, wearing a dress in honour of mentor and former Wimbledon winner Evonne Goolagong, took control with a superb winner helping to earn a decisive break.

Suarez Navarro refused to go away quietly though and immediately broke back before a tie-breaker went the way of the Spaniard, who will represent her country at the Olympics in Tokyo later this summer.

Deft touches coupled with some wonderful cross-court shots had the crowd fully engrossed in a potential fairytale story but Barty demonstrated excellent resilience to recover her composure.

An error-strewn second set was put to one side with an early break in the third giving Barty a crucial advantage, which was added to as her latest pursuit of a second grand slam started with 38 winners and 13 aces.

Barty applauded Suarez Navarro off the court with the crowd on their feet to bid farewell to the experienced right-hander, who was emotional as she brought her Wimbledon chapter to a close and bowed out in typical battling fashion.

Five-time Wimbledon singles champion Venus Williams says she has no qualms about playing on Court Three again after she defied her age to secure a 90th victory at the Championships with a three-set success over Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Venus Williams won in three sets on Court Three

Placed on one of the outside courts despite her SW19 pedigree, the 41-year-old brushed off that snub to win 7-5 4-6 6-3 in a marathon first-round tie which lasted two hours and 37 minutes.

A mixture of aces, powerful winners and fine defence saw the oldest player at the All England Club extend her love affair with the grass courts there and set up a meeting with 21st seed Ons Jabeur.

Quizzed on being put on the inconspicuous setting of Court Three, Williams insisted: "I wasn't disappointed.

"I am here to play and I am here to play on whatever court I am put on. As long as I win on that court, that is all I care about.

"Court Three is quite a nice court. I have a lot of great memories on that court, singles and doubles, so for me it was like going home. And whatever happens, happens."

Williams and Buzarnescu had only met once previously at the Australian Open in 2019 but that was another first-round epic that lasted more than two hours.

The early exchanges suggested the crowd were in for the long haul again with a number of break points saved by the American before she made the decisive breakthrough in the 12th game.

It helped clinch the opener but the world number 160 fought back after putting her frustration to one side and levelled after breaking in the first game of the second set.

Again an early break proved key in the decider and it went to the seven-time grand slam singles champion who used all of her experience to triumph in front of mother Oracene and sister Isha.

Next up for Williams is Jabeur, who was described as an inspiration for "breaking down barriers" in Tunisia with her on-court ability.

There is also the small matter of the mixed doubles later in the week with Australian Nick Kyrgios and the former world number one showed on Tuesday she was not ready to bid farewell to Wimbledon yet.

Williams said of Kyrgios: "I think we are playing together because we both respect each others games. I am looking forward to the experience and hopefully that will team up better. That is what I am looking to get out of it.

"Obviously if I have experiences to share, I am always willing to do that with anyone who might ask me. That is always a given so I am always open for that but that is not my goal from this pairing. I am hoping we just play well together."