Novak Djokovic said there was no way he could have played on against Andy Roddick after quitting their Australian Open quarter-final because of cramp and “soreness in my whole body”.
Roger Federer said it was “disappointing” that the Serb “gave up” while trailing 6-7 6-4 6-2 2-1 in temperatures hitting 40C on court.
Defending champion Djokovic, 21, has failed to finish seven tour matches, four in Grand Slams. “I always retire with a reason,” he said. “I felt I could not go on.”
Djokovic was not the only player to struggle on Tuesday as Melbourne experiences what is expected to be its most severe heatwave in 100 years. Marion Bartoli later said she had felt the effects of the heat as she lost the final 11 games in her defeat by Vera Zvonareva. The Australian Open has an extreme heat policy which takes into account the temperature as well as humidity. In that situation, no new sets are started on outside courts and the roofs on the main show courts are closed. However, that has not been implemented yet in 2009, despite on-court temperatures topping 40C. Djokovic was the fourth player to pull out of a singles match in two days, although his was the only retirement caused solely by the heat.