Djokovic retires in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—Top-ranked Novak Djokovic retired during his quarterfinal in the Dubai Tennis Championships with an infection in both eyes on Thursday, ending his global run of 17 consecutive final appearances.
“It’s an eye problem,” Djokovic, wearing dark sunglasses, said at his postmatch news conference. “I have had it ever since I arrived to Dubai. Started with an infection, and then severe allergy.”
Djokovic said the infection started in his right eye but then presented in both eyes. He was instructed not to wear his contact lenses, except during matches, because it aggravates the condition.
“It’s gotten worse the last two days, unfortunately,” he added. “It’s the first time that I have had such a problem with the eye. It was ultrasensitive today, the lights, and just wasn’t to be.”
The retirement ended Djokovic’s run of 17 straight finals dating to the 2015 Australian Open. He had won 13 of those finals, including the last seven since the US Open in September. He was one final away from tying Ivan Lendl’s Open era record of 18 straight in 1981 and 1982. But he wasn’t worried about his streak ending.
The last time Djokovic retired from a match was against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in a Davis Cup semifinal in 2011. He’s played 350 matches since then for a 312-38 win-loss record.