More records for Roger Federer but no match point glory

"It's nice to be back but you never like to end a match this way", Djokovic said.

"Clearly I was hoping that Alexandr was feeling better today but he's had a rough one this year".

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

"A player should not go on court if he knows he should not finish".

The theory behind that setup: Players who are injured won't step on court simply to collect their prize money as an entrant, before calling it a day without finishing the match. In this sport there's so much weight behind it and significance about it.

"It was great to be back on Centre Court".

Others were less understanding, John McEnroe was predictably the most vocal television critic.

"If they did, I think it's okay that they walk on court".

It led to the accusation in The Times that fans were being "cheated" as tennis stars take their £35,000 ($45,000) first round appearance fee and quit the competition.

"It's a fair point", Djokovic added. It was a decent practice session. The Greek player, Stefanos Tsitsipas however, provided little in the way of opposition despite his best efforts.

The stark contrast between Federer and any gifted but lesser player becomes obvious from the earliest exchanges. At least they had that in common.

Unfortunately, the same was true of No2 seed Novak Djokovic, whose match was terminated with an nearly identical score and time when Martin Klizan retired in the third game of the second set having lost the first. The Swiss player had other opportunities to break in the first set and struck again in the final game of the set to take it 6-3. Only Ivo Karlovic and Goran Ivanisevic have hit more.

"When I went out, I felt like there was a bit of a letdown from the crowd". If they had withdrawn, that would at least have given an opportunity to another player - a "lucky loser" from the qualifying tournament - and given the crowd better matches to watch.

If such a system was used at the Grand Slam events, there would still be withdrawals - there will be occasions, for example, where players are unfit but think there is a chance they can play through their injuries - but it would mean that those who know they have little chance of completing even one match would not be tempted to play just so that they can bank their cheques. "I tried to focus on my game plan, I was serving well and when it mattered I made a break", said Djokovic, who is aiming to win a first Grand Slam title since last year's French Open.

Returning to the Centre Court schedule which opened with Angelique Kerber defeating Inna Falconi of the U.S. 6-4 6-4 in 87-minutes. Those are scores relevant only to future trivia contests.

So far, seven men have retired from the first round.

But that was merely the hors d'oeuvres to an extraordinary post-match press conference, in which Tomic conceded that he was disillusioned with tennis, no longer cares whether he does well in grand slams, and didn't appear inclined to put the work in to make the most of his talent.

"It was definitely a mental issue out there", Tomic told reporters. Otherwise, I feel they should give up the spot. I was comfortable, I had no problem going on court for sure. "I'm sure that most of the players on the tour, if not all, feel that", he said. "I'm still 24, and it was tough to find motivation out there".

  • Angelo Rivera