Wimbledon leaves injured players rule in place for time being

Ed White: Young and old pose a threat to Britain's golden era

"If I win, I have a day off, maybe I will feel better on Thursday".

Djokovic was leading Martin Klizan 6-3 2-0 when the Slovakian succumbed to a calf injury before Alexandr Dolgopolov pulled the plug in his first-round match at 6-3 3-0 down to Federer. Djokovic picked up his 234th match victory at all majors, moving ahead of Connors and alone into second place in history, behind only Federer's 315. The question is, did they truly believe they were going to finish.

"Otherwise, I feel they should give up the spot".

With Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic sharing 12 Wimbledon titles among them, it's not a surprise that they are the most-watched and talked-about players at the All England Club.

It meant that the Centre Court crowd had seen just 83 minutes of action involving the two men who have won 10 Wimbledon titles between them. "It's unfortunate that it happened".

As it happens, the seven men who retired early from the first round here - Klizan, Dolgopolov, Feliciano Lopez, Janko Tipsarevic, Nick Kyrgios, Viktor Troicki and Denis Istomin - are all players who have earned good money from their careers.

Federer has still more records on the line here, too.

Roger Federer pleaded with Grand Slams not to be panicked into reducing matches to best-of-three sets after injured players were accused of taking the money and running on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila). "One alternative might be to offer compensation for travel expenses incurred by players who travel to an event in good faith, only to pick up or aggravate an injury before they are due to go on court".

"The chairman said, "You and Novak should go and play for another set and a half". But again, the first round loser walked off with £35,000 for barely an hours work.

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The Ukrainian, who suffered a right ankle injury three weeks ago, said: "The reality is you're going to have that".

While Tuesday's crowd were clearly short-changed (even if they were given an extra match when Caroline Wozniacki's meeting with Timea Babos was switched to Centre Court), think of the players' point of view.

"If they did, I think it's okay that they walk on court. 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.

Djokovic said he backed the ATP rule being used at the Slams but also refused to criticise opponents who fail to finish. Kerber comes into the tournament on the back of a wretched clay court season, which culminated in an embarrassing first round loss to Ekaterina Makarova.

In the women's draw, top seed and world No. 1 Angelique Kerber faces a tough second-round clash against former Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens.

But it was the short men's matches that had everyone talking. "Maybe the slams should have a look at what they could do for the players to make it just a little bit easier".

"You never like to end up a match this way but I knew that Klizan had issues even before walking on the court", Djokovic said. "I know the Wimbledon Centre Court didn't get their money's worth today, that's for sure".

It was the kind of trouble-free first round Djokovic would have been hoping for after the most turbulent period of his career, the 12-time major victor losing in the Australian Open second round and the French Open quarter-finals.

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