Novak Djokovic’s Wimbledon draw opens up after shock retirement for 7th seed

Hubert Hurkacz and Novak Djokovic
Hubert Hurkacz's sad retirement may ultimately boost Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon chances.

Novak Djokovic’s path to an eighth Wimbledon may have received an unexpected – and rather unfortunate – boost after Hubert Hurkacz retired injured in his second-round match.

World No 7 Hurkacz, the seventh seed in the Wimbledon draw, was projected to be Djokovic’s quarter-final opponent at the All England Club this fortnight.

With the Pole, a semi-finalist at the event in 2021, in strong for this season, he was widely seen as someone who could stop Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, and Carlos Alcaraz – and potentially win the title.

However, he will now be sweating on his fitness after a busy summer after disappointingly exiting the event on Thursday.

Hurkacz was handed a tough second-round draw against talented French youngster Arthur Fils, who raced to an impressive two-set lead out on Court 2.

The seventh seed rallied to take the third set and looked likely to force a decider, only for disaster to strike in the tail-end of the fourth set.

At 7-7 in the fourth-set tiebreak, Hurkacz dived across to try and win a point and appeared to land awkwardly on the court.

The world No 7 received a lengthy medical time out and attempted to play on – diving on the court in the next point – but ultimately had to retire down match point, Fils claiming a 7-6(2), 6-4, 2-6, 6-6 retirement victory.

“It’s tough to win a match like this against a friend,” said Fils on court afterwards.

“We were playing super good in the fourth. We had some great points. He was jumping everywhere. I’m really sorry for him. I hope he will recover quickly.”

Hurkacz’s retirement means that Djokovic will not face a top-eight player until at least the last four, where he is projected to face fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

Hurkacz’s retirement means that Djokovic will not face a top-eight player until at least the last four, where he is projected to face fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

It makes him a worthy contender in the betting to win an eighth Wimbledon title, but there are still plenty of tests he may have to pass.

The Serbian is projected to play 15th seed Holger Rune in the fourth round, and ninth seed Alex de Minaur is a likely quarter-final opponent at this point.

The Australian has been in career-best form over the past twelve months and has won two titles this season, including on grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch just a few weeks ago.

De Minaur has also had a consistent season at Slams in 2024, reaching the round of 16 at the Australian Open and the quarter-final at Roland Garros, and defeated Djokovic in the United Cup at the beginning of the year.

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