LONDON – Three-times Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic’s painful year continued as he retired with an elbow injury during his quarter-final against Czech Tomas Berdych today.
The second seed had lost the opening set and was down a break in the second when he walked to the net and shook his opponent’s hand.
The retirement, with the score at 7-6(2) 2-0, came shortly after the 30-year-old Serb called a medical timeout.
Djokovic said his right elbow had been bothering him for over a year and a half and that he had been feeling pain from the beginning of the tournament.
“The intensity and the level of pain was not decreasing. It was only increasing as the days went by,” he said. “Unfortunately, today was the worst day.
“It’s unfortunate that I had to finish Wimbledon, a grand slam, this way,” he added. “I mean, if someone feels bad about it, it’s me. But, you know, I tried.”
He also said the postponement of his last-16 match against Adrian Mannarino, which was pushed a day to Tuesday because of the marathon five-setter in which Gilles Muller beat Rafael Nadal, might have played a role.
“Probably the fact that I played yesterday, kind of days adding up, as I’ve said before, it wasn’t helping at all,” he said.
The retirement is another blow for the former world number one, who has surrendered his Australian and French Open titles this year and slipped to fourth in the world.
The result means Berdych, 31, has reached the semi-finals for the second year running. The Czech has also broken a streak of 12 losses against his tormentor-in-chief Djokovic, whom he had previously only beaten twice in 27 matches.
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon title defence evaporated on Centre Court in a painful five-set demise to Sam Querrey as the hip injury that has dogged the world number one throughout the tournament finally got the better of him.
Murray’s hopes of becoming the first Briton to retain a grand slam title since Fred Perry in 1936 were shredded as he hobbled helplessly to a 3-6 6-4 6-7(4) 6-1 6-1 quarter-final defeat.
The encounter ended in almost brutal fashion, as Murray struggled to move freely around the court in the final two sets and the big-serving Querrey ruthlessly put him to the sword, wrapping up victory with his 27th booming ace.
Despite the best efforts of the Centre Court crowd to cajole a miracle recovery from the limping Briton, Murray’s troublesome hip proved beyond help and he was swiftly dispatched, with the final two sets taking just under 47 minutes.
Querrey can now lay claim to the title of Wimbledon’s chief giant-killer after slaying then champion Novak Djokovic last year. He becomes the first American man to reach a grand slam semi-final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.
“I’m still in shock myself,” he said after setting up a semi-final encounter with Marin Cilic.
Meanwhile, Gilles Muller’s unlikely Wimbledon run came to an end when he was beaten in five sets by Croatian Cilic in their quarter-final today.
The 34-year-old Muller was an unexpected presence in the last eight after he pulled off a surprise, five-set win over Rafa Nadal in the fourth round.
Muller took that form into the contest with Cilic but when his run of 31 service games without a break ended in the third set, the tide turned towards the Croat, who produced some magnificent return play in the final set.
Roger Federer maintained his bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title as he moved into the last four with a 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win against Milos Raonic. Federer, 35, made short work of beating last year’s runner-up with a trademark display on Centre Court as he won in his 100th singles match at Wimbledon.
He will now play Tomas Berdych in Friday’s semi-final.