Eye Infection Forces Novak Djokovic To Retire In Dubai [Video]
by Staff | February 25th, 2016, 3:26 pm

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.

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27 Comments for Eye Infection Forces Novak Djokovic To Retire In Dubai [Video]

Humble Rafa Says:

What is this, an under-10 tournament?

Green Lady Says:

Ive suffered with my eyes for years,dry,itchy,grainy,having eye drops daily for a condition called graves disease,and i live in dark glasses in summer just like Novak is here,eye trouble is the worst,you cant do anything if you cannot see.

Ben Pronin Says:

How does an infection become an allergy?

Margot Says:

Oh, what a shame, so near, yet so far.
Good luck Nole, hope eyes heal soon, whatever it is.

chrisford1 Says:

Ben – Perhaps when the patient has an allergenic reaction to the meds used to treat the eye infection.
I personally think Nole is being polite with his hosts – but my guess is the eye infection happened from being at the water park or some of the pools Nole was photo’d swimming in.
It’s made worse because his Clark Kent persona is that of a true 4-eyed nerd. Contacts irritate the infected eye further, and Nole cannot see well enough to play without them. (Wearing regular glasses give distortions, more glare, get less clear as sweat dries on them. So not an option any player needing visual correction normally goes with. DEnnis IStoman is a rarity.)
And the contacts have been tied to a higher risk of infection as tear fluid cannot fully wash away bacteria trapped underneath the contact lens.

So poor Nole got hosed! Past the pool and waterpark definition of getting hosed.

The streak itself is sort of ridiculous in criteria to begin with. It doesn’t start with all the USO matches, then Beijing, Shanghai and Paris because a round robin match loss meaningless to the ultimate win at the Barclay’s Championship happened..Round robins are sort of inbetween playing a typical knockout match in a tournament

Deliciano notches his 1st win in the h2h with Nole, so congrats to him. Illness, a thrashing, an injury – once the match atrts – a wins a win! A legit win.

chrisford1 Says:

Incomplete thought. “Round robins are sort of inbetween playing a typical “knockout or advance match” and dead rubbers in DC or Exo matches.”

Ben Pronin Says:

What streak?

I think if Nole had allergies in his eyes it’d look a lot worse.

Why doesn’t he just get Lasik?

Wog Boy Says:

Deliciano is a good man, he deserves to retire with a having a win against Nole. Congrats to him.

Wog Boy Says:

What is Lasik, sorry for my ignorance?

Wog Boy Says:

It’s ok, I found it. I wanted to have one but my GP disagreed and asked me what’s wrong with wearing glasses? I didn’t have answer for that one.

Ben Pronin Says:

I know some people who have gotten it and plenty of others who just wear glasses. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s any health benefit to it. But for Djokovic, it just seems like a crazy gamble. I think he just likes wearing goofy glasses.

chrisford1 Says:

For a top athlete, Lasik can be problematic. You 1st have to be a good candidate (85% of prospects are, but things like pupil, a changing prescription, underlying diabetes that causes deterioration of vision and constant correction make you a bad candidate)
Novak doesn’t have diabetes, but may have some other issue that makes Lasik a surgery not recommended by Docs.
The success rate is now 92-96%, but complications can result in damage that causes a degrading of depth perception, a bad thing in particular for a top athlete involved in several sports. If you are Djokovic, that can translate out to a 1 in 20 chance that his career could be ended or months or a year + lost to adjust to a depth perception deterioration, or having “ghosts” or glare spots.

And why, oh why would you want to tamper with stellar success when everything is going his way??
It would be a small gamble, but a low risk possible high consequence gamble considering the possible consequences…

And besides: Both Novak and his wife are 4-eyed book loving nerds…comfortable in their own skins, that use glasses regularly when away from public events. So the last person who would be nagging Nole to ditch them and thus somehow be more appealing – is his wife. She’s beautiful and he’s handsome with or without the goggles..I doubt they have any discussions about how much better each other would be to one another or friends or the public if they could only ditch the glasses forever. So vanity wouldn’t be a reason..

J-Kath Says:

Lasik can help in a large number of people – imagine Nole and his team have investiaged it though.

J-Kath Says:


RZ Says:

Darn, I should have bet on “pinkeye” in the “what does it take to stop Novak” pool. :-)
Seriously, I hope his eye heals up soon. I can’t imagine the dry desert weather is helping.

Daniel Says:

Lasik is miopia surgery. I got it in 2013 but unfortunate I felt on that 5% geoup who doesn’t correct completly. I can see fine but I remember that when I used contact I saw better. Doctor always say that comtact provides a better view abd I also had small miopia and astigmatism with it.

But yeah, I higly recommend. Nothing is better than getting home late night under the influence and not having to remove contact lens and all the asspesy before bed😜

Daniel Says:

Agree CF1 if I was a top athelte I wouldn’t do it during career. He can do it later after 35.

But not using lens anymore is one of the best invention of mankind

skeezer Says:

Was it one eye or both eyes? Hope for him it was both eyes is the reason he retired. That I would get.

skeezer Says:

Never mind found my answer, both eyes. Bummer.

Pauly Says:

Lopez was lucky
Only an act of GOD could beat Djokovic
Eye infection
No one wants to win that way

Michael Says:

It is a real pity that Novak has to exit in this fashion. More despicable was the behavior of the crowd booing him all the way yet again discourteous to a Great Champion who has dominated the Sport like no other !!

AndyMira Says:

Pauly..hi..how are you?it’s good to see your name here..

Pauly Says:

Andy Mira
No one wants to win like Lopez
Eye infection not good
Pity crowd booed Djokovic not nice

Wog Boy Says:

Very nice and measured words from Lopez about the match and Nole:


AndyMira Says:

Yes Pauly..i don’t know why they behaved like that,every player must have a strong reason if they choose to retired except tomic that is..i think novak should be applaud for showing up in the first place..he could easily withdraw and say sorry to his fan,they will accept it..instead he showed up and tried to play,still it’s not enough to some people..

Van Persie Says:


thanks for sharing the link. It is nice from Lopez.
I will use this opportunity to congratulate him. A win it’s a win, no matter what.

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