Djokovic, Federer urge rules overhaul

LONDON • Wimbledon is considering implementing a new rule to deter players with pre-existing injuries from stepping on to court to guarantee prize money of £35,000 (S$62,446), only to then quit during the match after a frustrating series of retirements on Tuesday.

Spectators on Centre Court were left deeply disappointed after two matches in a row ended in retirements.

Roger Federer reached the second round when Alexandr Dolgopolov quit when trailing 6-3, 3-0 after just 43 minutes, complaining of an ankle injury.

Earlier, title rival Novak Djokovic booked his second-round spot in just 40 minutes when Martin Klizan, suffering from a calf injury, retired at 6-3, 2-0 down.

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.

In total, there have been eight retirements - seven of them in the first round of the men's singles - compared with none last year.

Djokovic and Federer urged the four Grand Slam tournaments to follow the lead of the ATP Tour, which is trialling a new rule to help combat such occurrences.

A source close to the All England Club told The Times, London, that the trial is being monitored and that it may lobby for its inclusion in the Grand Slam rule book.

"A player should not go on court if he knows he should not finish," Federer, the seven-time Wimbledon champion, said. "The question is, 'Did they believe they were going to finish?' If they did, I think it's okay that they walk on court. Otherwise, they should give up the spot."

The ATP's rule allows for a player, up to twice a year, to withdraw before a first-round match and still collect his full prize money.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2017, with the headline 'Djokovic, Federer urge rules overhaul'. Print Edition | Subscribe