10 players pull out of Wimbledon; 9 due to injuries, one due to 'tiredness'
The All England Club's medical rooms were overflowing as the third day of Wimbledon resembled a casualty ward with French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Rafa Nadal's conqueror Steve Darcis, Victoria Azarenka and Marin Cilic being amongst seven players forced out with injury. A eighth player withdrew from the tournament due to 'tiredness'.
The 28-year-old Tsonga, a semi-finalist in 2012, needed a medical time-out to have his left knee taped just after he had dropped the second set, 6-3.
Tsonga had won the first set, 6-3.
But when he dropped the third set 6-3, he gave up.
The French star was the seventh player to see his Wimbledon campaign ended by injury on Wednesday.
Just moments before Tsonga's retirement, Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova withdrew from her second round clash against 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, the eighth seed, with a right arm injury.
The start of Day 3 was less about the tennis results and more about a casualty list that included Azarenka, Darcis and John Isner.
Also withdrawing with injuries were 10th-seeded Marin Cilic (left knee) and 2006 quarterfinalist Radek Stepanek (left hamstring).
Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber cited 'tiredness' while retiring in the fifth set of his clash against Croatian Ivan Dodig today. The German later revealed that he was suffering the effects of flu and felt unable to continue.
On Tuesday, Argentine Guido Pella and Switzerland’s Romina Oprandi had to cut short their Wimbledon campaign due to injuries.
While Pella was carried off court on a stretcher after a nasty fall, Oprandi retired after injuring her arm.
World number two and Australian Open champion Azarenka withdrew just minutes before she was due on Centre Court to face Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta for a place in the third round.
A right knee injury, suffered in a fall during her first round win over Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal on Monday which left her in tears and requiring 10 minutes of treatment, put paid to her hopes after an MRI scan showed extensive bruising to the knee.
Her fall happened on Court One, the same arena where Darcis knocked out Nadal.
Darcis, the world number 135, also took a painful tumble, causing the right shoulder injury which forced him to withdraw.
"The court was not in a very good condition that day. My opponent fell twice; I fell badly; there were some other people who fell after," said Azarenka, a semi-finalist in the last two years.
"It would be great if the club or somebody who takes care of the court would examine or try to find an issue so that wouldn't happen.
"There is nothing I could have done to make that better. There is nothing I've done wrong that cost me to just withdraw from Wimbledon."
Darcis, the world number 135, admitted he was devastated after being forced to pull out.
The 29-year-old Belgian had been due to face Poland's Lukasz Kubot in the second round, but was unable to recover in time after sustaining the shoulder problem in his remarkable triumph against Nadal 48 hours earlier.
"I think when you beat a guy like Rafa in the first round, you want to show more, you want to play more matches. I was playing maybe the best tennis in my life here," he said.
"So not to go on the court today, it's the biggest disappointment I have had."
America's John Isner, famous for winning the longest match in history at Wimbledon in 2010, pulled out after just two games of his second round tie against France's Adrian Mannarino.
"I just went to serve, and it was as I landed on my left leg, like I have done 20 million times playing this game. I just felt this sharp pain," said 18th seeded Isner.
"It just grabbed really badly and I knew I was in serious trouble then. I knew at that point it was not likely I was going to be able to play."
Croatian 10th seed Cilic joined the list of Wimbledon's walking wounded when he withdrew with a left knee injury.
Cilic, the runner-up to Andy Murray at Queens last week, was due to face France's Kenny de Schepper for a last-32 place.
"It's a very black day," said Cilic.
Czech veteran Radek Stepanek was also struck down by injury.
At 6-2, 5-3 down to Poland's Jerzy Janowicz, the 24th seed, he quit with a left hamstring injury.
Three former world number ones knocked out
Lleyton Hewitt was dumped out by German qualifier Dustin Brown, the dreadlocked former Jamaica player winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2
Brown, 28, the world number 189, will be playing in his first Grand Slam third round match where he will face world number 11 Mannarino.
Former women's number one Ana Ivanovic was knocked out by Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, the reigning Wimbledon girls' champion.
The 12th seeded Serb, who made the semi-finals in 2007, was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by the 19-year-old.
Caroline Wozniacki, the ninth seed, also went out in straight sets to Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska after needing treatment for an ankle injury, also following a fall on Court Two.