Tennis

Federer urges
calm over 
pull-outs

Roger Federer pleaded with Grand Slams not to be panicked into reducing matches to best-of-three sets after injured players were accused of taking the money and running on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old reached the Wimbledon second round when Alexandr Dolgopolov quit while trailing 6-3, 3-0 after just 43 minutes on Centre Court. He had complained 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 top players.

"I feel for the crowd," said Federer. "They're there to watch good tennis."

Seven men have retired from the first round. On Monday, Victor Troicki quit after 20 minutes. On Tuesday, his Serb compatriot Janko Tipsarevic quit after just 15 minutes.

First-round losers all receive £35,000 (S$62,500).

In light of the early pull-outs, Federer hopes the Slams do not adopt the best-of-three sets format, instead of the traditional best-of-five.

"I hope it doesn't happen. But I believe that more players clearly would finish their matches," said Federer, who is bidding for a record eighth Wimbledon title.

"A player should not go on court if he knows he would not finish... they should give up the spot.

"The ATP has adjusted its rule. Maybe the Slams should have a look at what they could do for the players to make it just a little bit easier."

He was referring to the ATP rule where an injured player can give his place to a "lucky loser" from qualifying while keeping the prize money. But that is not applied at the Slams.

However, Federer added that players who insist on competing in the first round despite obvious physical ailments should not be damned, because "miracles" do happen. - AFP.

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