the independent & agencies
Wimbledon, 28 JUNE: The latest bizarre twist in this Wimbledon’s injury saga came yesterday from the Frenchman Michael Llodra, who withdrew after one set of a singles match claiming injury, then took part in doubles within a couple of hours, becoming a winner himself when an opponent had to pull out. Llodra cited a hamstring injury during his second-round match against the 23rd seed Andreas Seppi, who had won the first set 7-5.
He decided it was more important to concentrate on his doubles match, partnering fellow countryman Nicolas Mahut as 13th seeds against the Czech pair Jan Hajek and Jaroslav Levinsky. After nine games, Levinsky pulled out with a back problem. Llodra, who has a long history of retirements, said: `I’ve had a problem for a couple of weeks with my hamstrings.
It happened at the French Open. Since that, it’s painful like every day. I pulled out from Queen’s two weeks ago and today I was not [fit] enough to play singles. Doubles is easier, you play half-court.’ He admitted it would be difficult for spectators to understand, but insisted: `The season is long. I promise, if I can continue, I continue. This is one of my favourite Slams. You have to make some decisions. It was not easy. But in my mind I think I have a chance to win the doubles. Not in singles like this. So the choice is very easy.’
Challenged about the legitimacy of his injury, he responded: `I can make an MRI [scan] to show everybody my hamstring. I have no problem with that. You have to believe the player. I can understand it’s difficult for the fans to realise or to understand my situation. But it’s like this.’ A second Frenchman, Paul-Henri Mathieu, pulled out when trailing 6-3, 5-1 to Feliciano Lopez after needing treatment to his neck.
Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov staged a temporary sit-down protest to register his anger at court conditions on Friday before he lost a 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja in a second round match suspended due to rain on Thursday. When the tie resumed on Court Three after a two-hour delay caused by more rain, the 22-year-old Dimitrov, watched by the sunglasses-wearing Sharapova, slipped and fell in his service action at 8-9 to give up the third match point of the tie.