It seems unthinkable, but the 2013 Wimbledon tournament will go on without Roger Federer, the latest to fall on a remarkable day of upsets and injuries at the All England Club.
Seven players were forced to withdraw or retire from matches because of injury and the day only grew more stunning as daylight waned. Finally, the biggest surprise of all came when Sergiy Stakhovsky knocked out Federer, the seven-time Wimbledon champion, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-6). Federer, who was 49-0 in the second round of Grand Slam matches, lost to the 116th-ranked player in the world and joins Rafael Nadal on the sidelines of this tournament.
Calling his victory “magic,” Stakhovsky said, “I couldn’t play any better today.”
Although he seemed emotional as he left the court, Federer downplayed that afterward. “It’s always a disappointment losing any match around the world, particularly here. I’ve had some great moments here but also some tougher ones,” he said. “…It was a tough loss today. I appreciated all the standing ovations and ovations I got leaving the court.”
Seven players were knocked out either by withdrawal or retirement midmatch because of injuries, a number that is believed to be a record in a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era. Gone are Victoria Azarenka, sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Steve Darcis (who upset Nadal), John Isner, 10th-seeded Marin Cilic, Radek Stepanek and Yaroslava Shvedova.
The figure tops what the International Tennis Federation said (via ESPN) it believes was the previous high of five, set last year on the first day at Wimbledon.