Spectators with Centre Court tickets for the second day of The Championships, will have been delighted when they learnt that they would be watching both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, as well as the women’s world number one Angelique Kerber, when they took their allotted places around the most famous tennis court in the world.
There's got to be a rule for guys who come out clearly not giving – or able to give – 100 per cent. It's no good for anyone John McEnroe
By the end of the day it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if they had asked for their money back with both Djokovic and Federer’s opponents retiring providing just 83-minutes of play between them.
First it was Martin Klizan who kept Djokovic on court for 40-minutes having arrived there hobbling. It was clear he wasn’t really fit to play and he eventually quit while trailing the Serb 6-2 2-0.
It is understood the Slovak had a problem with his calf and the retirement incensed John McEnroe who declared: “There’s got to be a rule for guys who come out clearly not giving – or able to give – 100 per cent. It’s no good for anyone.
“I think ultimately the player needs to be given advice and made to understand what he is doing to his own reputation and to the sport.”
Djokovic was more sympathetic. “He had issues walking on to court. I’m sure he didn’t want to finish this way,” he said but at the end of the day, Klizan did disappoint and more to the point he collected £35,000 as a first round loser! He knew that the rules stated he would lose out on that cheque if he stepped aside to let a ‘lucky loser’ take his place.
An unfortunate result, maybe, but to then see the same thing happen in the next match is an incredible coincidence with Alexandr Dolgopolov retiring with an ankle injury while trailing 6-3 3-0, 43-minutes into the match. The Ukranian had called for the trainer at the end of the first set but obviously he wasn’t able to do anything for him. But again, the first round loser walked off with £35,000 for barely an hours work.
“Clearly I was hoping that Alexandr was feeling better today but he’s had a rough one this year. He’s had to pull out of a lot of matches,” Federer said later. “He tried. For me obviously I’m very happy to be back and getting another win here is great news.”
In fact it was the Swiss icon’s 85th win at Wimbledon surpassing the record he held with Jimmy Connors. He also recorded his 10,000th career ace as he gets his campaign to set another record by winning his 8th Wimbledon title, and an 19th grand slam overall.
He shrugged off the favourite mantle which he has been given, declaring: “Everybody’s got a chance to win Wimbledon and for me it’s no different. I already achieved my dream to be back here healthy. Now we’ll see how far I can go.”
But getting the record is his dream as it would lift him past both Pete Sampras and William Renshaw with whom he shares the record number of Wimbledon titles. “It would be beautiful. I would love it. I’m not the youngest any more yet I’m still putting myself out there with a chance,” the 35-year-old said.
Many would wish that some of that would rub off on Bernard Tomic who admitted he was ‘bored’ with the event as he slumped to 6-3 6-4 6-3 defeat at the hands of Germany’s Mischa Zverev! But he wasn’t going to return his first round losers winnings when asked during the post-match press conference, whether that might be appropriate bearing in mind his poor 84-minute performance and attitude.
“It was definitely a mental issue out there. Wasn’t mentally and physically there to perform. I don’t know why, but, you know, I felt a little bit bored out there to be completely honest with you,” the 24-year-old former Aussie great hope told reporters. “It’s a roller coaster, and I just can’t seem to find the commitment to work hard, to enjoy, and to lift trophies,” he added. “Maybe I have to look at a few things, maybe play less tournaments. The last two years, nothing motivates.”
Returning to the Centre Court schedule which opened with Angelique Kerber defeating Inna Falconi of the US 6-4 6-4 in 87-minutes. Kerber the world number one, wasn’t as dominant as one would expect of the current best player in the world, but she eased herself into the tournament and could well have gained the sort of momentum which is required if she is to make any further progress.
“The first round here is always tough,” said Kerber, who will face Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the second round.
“She had nothing to lose. She came from through the qualifiers. It was a good match from both of us and it is always good to have a difficult match in the first round.”
For Kerber it must have been a bit of a relief as she had lost in the first round at Roland Garros, the first time that a player of her ranking had done that in the modern era.
The biggest upset of the day was provided by David Ferrer who is reaching the end of his career who ousted the 22nd seed, Richard Gasquet, Eastbourne semi-finalist, 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-2 plus the demise of the Queen’s champion, Feliciano Lopez , who retired with a back injury when trailing Adrian Mannarino of France, 5-7 6-1 6-1 4-3.
Also out is the women’s 16th seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who was beaten after 2-hours and 21-minutes by Australia’s Arina Rodionova.