Novak Djokovic’s incredible run hit a bump today in Dubai when the world No. 1 was forced to retire from his match against Feliciano Lopez due to an eye infection.
Djokovic had just dropped the first set of their quarterfinal to Lopez 6-3 when the Serb went over to the chair to end the match.
“It’s an eye problem,” Djokovic said. “I have had it ever since I arrived in Dubai. It started with an infection and then severe allergy.
“It’s gotten worse in the last two days, unfortunately. It’s the first time that I have had such a problem with the eye. It was ultra-sensitive today.
“I’m really sad to finish the tournament this way. I apologise to all the people who came to watch the match. I apologise to the tournament director and those who came out to support me. I’m really sad to end out the tournament this way, but I was forced to.”
Djokovic, who had never lost to Lopez in seven prior tries, saw his streak of 17 straight tournament finals come to an end, one short of Ivan Lendl’s record of 18. He had also won 17 straight matches since his loss to Roger Federer in the London round robin.
Djokovic is scheduled for Davis Cup next week when Serbia hosts Kazakhstan. Then he’ll be in Indian Wells and Miami.
“I just hope that this problem will fade away in the next couple of days,” he added.
The retirement was Djokovic’s first since withdrawing mid-way from his Davis Cup match in September 2011 against Juan Martin del Potro, a span of 350 matches.
Lopez moves on to face Marcos Baghdatis in the semifinals. Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka meet in the early semi.
— Dubai Tennis Champs (@DDFTennis) February 25, 2016
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