July 4, 2017 / 6:35 PM / 2 years ago

Federer and Djokovic toyed with practice match after withdrawals

Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 4, 2017 Switzerland’s Roger Federer in action during his first round match against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov REUTERS/Matthew Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Wimbledon fans with Centre Court tickets suffered the disappointment of seeing the opponents of title contenders Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic retire early in their matches - but they might have been given a bonus contest between the pair.

Seven-times Wimbledon champion Federer led 6-3 3-0 when Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov withdrew with an ankle injury after 43 minutes.

Earlier second seed Djokovic advanced after Martin Klizan gave up after 40 minutes when 6-3 2-0 down.

Federer said the idea had been floated of him taking on the Serb to give the crowd some compensation for their disappointment.

“When I went out, I felt like there was a bit of a letdown from the crowd. They couldn’t believe that it happened again, exactly the same situation,” said Federer.

“When I walked up, the chairman said: ‘You guys should go and play for another set and a half.’ I said: ‘Yeah, let me go try to find Novak.’

“I found him in the locker room. I told him, Maybe we should go out and play another set.

“It’s not going to happen. I feel for the crowd. They’re there to watch good tennis, proper tennis. At least they see the two of us who gave it all they had. They saw other players that tried at least,” he said.

Instead of the champions’ clash, organizers opted to switch the women’s match between former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and Hungarian Timea Babos to Centre Court.

Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Clare Lovell

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