The Wimbledon field shrunk quickly and considerably on Wednesday as Victoria Azarenka, John Isner and Steve Darcis were all forced to retire from the tournament due to injury.
As the No. 2 female player in the world, most tennis fans expected Victoria Azarenka to make a deep run at Wimbledon, but that won't be the case as she has withdrawn from the tournament, according to Wimbledon on Twitter.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the men's No. 6 seed, joined the list of injury withdrawals after retiring from his match against Ernestes Gulbis, according to Wimbledon's Twitter feed.
Yet another retirement on Day 3! Tsonga retires against Gulbis with a suspected knee injury #Wimbledon— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 26, 2013
Azarenka had a scary moment in her first-round match against Maria Joao Koehler on Monday as she planted awkwardly and went down clutching her knee. Azarenka got taped up, returned to the court and dispatched of Koehler 6-1, 6-2, but her movement was clearly compromised.
Which withdrawn player had the best chance of winning a Wimbledon title?
The two-time Australian Open champion obviously felt as though she couldn't compete at the level necessary to succeed at Wimbledon, so she withdrew prior to her second-round match, which allows Italian Flavia Pennetta to move on.
Isner also suffered a knee injury, but it happened during his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino, according to USA Today. Isner tweaked his knee on a serve during the second game of the match and he was unable to continue. ESPN Tennis captured the image of a frustrated Isner walking off the court after retiring:
The towering American is known for his cracking serve, but he knew that there was something wrong when he felt something in his knee:
Isner: "Was just serving like I have 20-million times in this game, nothing different, (knee) just grabbed, knew I was in serious trouble."— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 26, 2013
Isner notably beat Nicolas Mahut in the longest match in Wimbledon history back in 2010 as he outlasted him 70-68 in a decisive fifth set. Isner now has the dubious distinction of playing in one of the shortest Wimbledon matches as well, according to Infostrada Sports.
John Isner has now been involved in Wimbledon match featuring most completed games (183) and match with second fewest completed games (2).— Infostrada Sports (@Infostrada2016) June 26, 2013
Darcis made a bigger impact than anyone in the entire tournament during the first round as he shocked No. 5 Rafael Nadal 7-6, 7-6, 6-4. The Belgian journeyman received plenty of media attention following his surprising win, but he won't have the opportunity to follow it up.
According to ITF Tennis, Darcis was forced to withdraw prior to his scheduled second-round match against Lukasz Kubot due to a shoulder injury.
BREAKING NEWS: Steve Darcis has withdrawn from his second round match at #Wimbledon against Lukasz Kubot with a right shoulder injury— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) June 26, 2013
Darcis actually suffered the injury during his first-round win over Nadal:
While the doctors did everything in their power to get Darcis on the court, Darcis admitted that it simply wouldn't have been possible:
#Darcis: "I was physio, Dr, yesterday. They did good job...but no chance I can play. I can't serve. Even on forehand side can't hit a ball."— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 26, 2013
Darcis is now left to wonder what could have been as there is no telling what he might have accomplished had he continued to play the way he did against Nadal:
Tennis fans certainly wanted to see what Darcis could do after such an inspiring victory over Nadal, but Darcis seems more disappointed than anyone:
Had to withdrawn after a win like this!?THE most difficult thing i had to do!!!#triedeverythingtoplaybutdidntwork!!!!— steve darcis (@stevedarcishark) June 26, 2013
It's an extremely unfortunate ending to the tournament for Darcis as there was potential for him to move on for a few more rounds, but there is no doubt that he will always be remembered for upsetting one of the greatest players of all time at Wimbledon.
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