The face of the Wimbledon Championships was altered dramatically on Wednesday, with the shock early exits of seven time winner and defending champion Roger Federer, former ladies champion Maria Sharapova, and the 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt. All three were surprised by lower ranked opponents in the second round. Federer’s defeat to unheralded Sergiy Stakhovsky is being hailed by some as the biggest upset in Wimbledon history.
The surprise defeats were exacerbated by a wave of withdrawals from other top players citing injuries. The surprise conquerer of Rafael Nadal, Steve Darcis, withdrew with an injured shoulder, shortly followed by sixth seeded frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and third ranked women’s seed Victoria Azarenka. Another seed Marin Cilic and John Isner retired with knee injuries, and a left hamstring problem ended Radek Stepanek’s campaign. Yaroslava Shvedova rounded off the list.
It was the worst day for injury withdrawals in tournament history. Some players, including Azarenka, have complained of slippiness underfoot and the poor condition of the court.