Four player retirements, two against Top 5 players, raised questions of first-round money-grabs by players while already injured on Tuesday on the men’s side at Wimbledon.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic’s opponent Martin Klizan of Slovakia retired in the second set trailing 6-3, 6-2. No. 3 seed Roger Federer’s opponent Alexandr “The Dog” Dolgopolov retired trailing 6-3, 3-0.
“There’s got to be a rule for guys who come out clearly not giving or able to give 100 percent,” said BBC commentator John McEnroe on the two straight retirements stunning fans on center court. “It’s no good for anyone.”
Also retiring were Serb Janko Tipsarevic at 0-5 against American Jared Donaldson, and No. 19 seed Feliciano Lopez at 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, 4-3 against France’s Adrian Mannarino.
“I always try to have that mindset that I am fighting for the trophy, just like everyone else,” said Djokovic, who can re-take the No. 1 ranking if Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal lose before the semifinals, after his win. “And tennis is a sport that allows you to have this opportunity over and over again, literally every other week. Even if you lose, you can still bounce back and make a good results in few weeks’ time.”
Djokovic will next meet 22-year-old Czech Adam Pavlasek, who beat American Ernesto Escebedo 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
Federer won his 85th match at Wimbledon, making him the new Open Era leader. He said records and rankings don’t matter much to him at this point.
“It’s secondary to the love for the game I have, how much I love winning,” the Swiss said. “Rankings get shoved aside a little bit for me at this stage of my life.”
Federer and Djokovic after their retirement wins said they had a locker room discussion about possibly playing an exhibition set for the fans, but it never came together.
Top 10 winners joining Djokovic and Federer in the second round were No. 6 Milos Raonic who defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(4); No. 8 Dominic Thiem efficient against the dangerous Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; and No. 10 Alexander Zverev dispatching Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3.
Raonic dropped 20 aces on his German opponent. The younger Zverev will next face American teen Frances Tiafoe.
Lower-seeded winners into the second round were No. 11 Tomas Berdych who beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in four, No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 15 Gael Monfils, back-from-injury No. 17 Jack Sock who needed four to get past Chilean qualifier Christian Garin, No. 23 John Isner, No. 25 Albert Ramos, No. 27 Mischa Zverev, and No. 29 Juan Martin del Potro who topped Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis in four.
Former grasscourt title winner David Ferrer also moved into the second round after an upset of No. 22 Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Ferrer, who many have written off at age 35, hasn’t lost in the first round of a slam in 12 years.
Matches to look for on Wednesday at the All-England Club include (1) Andy Murray vs. Dustin Brown, (4) Rafael Nadal vs. Donald Young, (9) Kei Nishikori vs. the net-rushing Sergiy Stakhovsky, (14) Lucas Pouille vs. the combustible Jerzy Janowicz, and (16) Gilles Muller vs. upset specialist Lukas Rosol.
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