Of all the players on the ATP Tour without a title, Tipsarevic is arguably the most talented, the most overdue, and the most cursed. Eastbourne seemed to be the perfect opportunity for Janko to grab his first trophy: all he had to do was beat Nishikori and Seppi in succession, two players he had never lost to (3-0 against both).
Tipsarevic completed part one of the task with ease, defeating Nishikori 6-2, 6-4. Seppi proved to be more of a challenge. After trading breaks early on, Seppi won the 1st set tiebreak 7-5. Janko was able to come back and take the 2nd set 6-3. Well into the 3rd set, Tipsarevic asked them to call the match for darkenss because he could not see and the grass was slippery. The tournament officials told him they would continue play. And then he slipped and injured himself in the next game and had to retire from the match.
Not only did Tipsarevic lose the final, but now his Wimbledon may be in jeopardy because of this injury. Needless to say, Janko was upset with the tournament:
If you look at all the facts what happened and what happened in the previous days, it’s just a complete mockery of tennis. It has nothing to do with Great Britain or England or the tournament. I love playing here for one reason: Because in this country and in these tournaments, you need to follow rules, which are really, really strict.
And today, those rules were just like, Yeah, okay. Let’s just finish and let’s go fast. Wimbledon starts next Monday
After that — we continued playing 4-3, 8:15. I asked, Can we stop now?
No, we cannot.
The court is fine and we have enough light.
I slip, I break my leg, whatever. The court is slippery, there is not enough light. The freaking scoreboard is shining. It’s shining, which means that there is not enough light outside.
No, we play. We play.
Yet another tough break for Tipsarevic. The tournament officials at Eastbourne were clearly anxious to get the final played before Wimbledon, but they did so at the cost of injuring a finalist. Let’s just hope that Janko can recover in time to compete at Wimbledon and that his elusive maiden title will not continue evade for long.
(Pic via AP; thanks to Forty Deuce for sharing the link to the tournament transcripts)