Djokovic forced to retire from DDF Tennis Championships

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Djokovic lost the first set 6-3 to Lopez.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic was forced to retire from his Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarter-final clash against Feliciano Lopez on Thursday night with an eye infection.

The 28-year-old four-time Dubai champion was out-of-sorts as he lost the first set to the Spaniard 6-3 before announcing his withdrawal from the match.

Djokovic, who later revealed he was struggling with a problem in both eyes, hit 18 unforced errors in nine games against the sixth seed, just a day on after the 11-time Grand Slam champion wrapped-up his 700th win on the ATP World Tour.

The retirement, which is the Serbian’s first since his 2011 Davis Cup clash with Juan Martin del Potro, ended his run of 17 straight finals.

The 28-year-old, who received treatment immediately after he left the court, said: “It’s an eye problem, I’ve had it ever since I arrived in Dubai. It started with an infection and an allergy, it’s got worse in the past two days unfortunately.

“It’s the first time I’ve had such a problem with the eye and it was ultra-sensitive with the lights and it wasn’t to be.

“It’s both eyes, it started with the right, but the right one is worse. There was not much they could do on the court.

“I’m really sad to finish the tournament this way, I apologise to the fans and everyone involved. I was forced to retire.

“I just hope the problem with my eyes will fade away over the next couple of days and there’s a lot of important events awaiting for me.

“Physically I feel fine, mentally as well.”

Djokovic also added that he was advised not to wear his usual contact lenses for matchplay because of the infection.

“I was instructed not to wear contact lenses because of the fact that the lenses aren’t helping this situation. I was only wearing contacts on Wednesday for the match and against Lopez.

Lopez now advances to the semi-finals where he will face Marcos Baghdatis who overcame Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-0 earlier in the day.

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