(K. Brent Tomer),
ON JULY 4th at Wimbledon’s All England Club, the first-round matches featuring Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic finished even sooner than fans of those two superstars had hoped. Mr Federer and Mr Djokovic have a long history of making quick work of early round opponents, but this year, their foes—Martin Klizan of Slovakia and Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, respectively—failed to last until a third set. Both men retired halfway through the second.
Neither player suffered a sudden, crippling injury. Instead, both entered the tournament with nagging complaints that—combined with their fearsome opponents—proved to be too much, leaving tournament organisers scrambling to place a suitable replacement on Centre Court. Fans felt cheated too. Mr Federer and Mr Djokovic were near-certain bets to advance to the second round: between them they have lost only two sets in the first round of a major since 2010. But even lopsided matches usually exceed the one-hour mark and provide a small sense of triumph to the victor. Neither of…Continue reading