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Injured Djokovic pays the price of tough schedule
LONDON (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic said he had been the player worst hit by the rain delays at Wimbledon this year and blamed his difficult schedule for forcing him to retire from his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal on Saturday.
The Serb was trailing 3-6 6-1 4-1 when he pulled out with an infected blister on the little toe of his left foot that was the result of a five-hour match on Friday and said a back problem that had flared up this week had also been bothering him.
"I think I was the player who was suffering most of all of the players here in Wimbledon because I was basically on the schedule every day and I played really long matches, especially in the last three rounds," he told a news conference.
Before Saturday, the 20-year-old fourth seed had spent nearly 17 hours on court at these championships, nine of those in the last two days.
His third round match stretched from Monday to Wednesday this week, he played more than four hours in a four-set encounter with Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday and then five hours with Marcos Baghdatis on Friday.
Djokovic has criticised organisers for not scheduling play on the middle Sunday to help deal with the backlog of matches after a week of wet weather.
"I'm really not happy with the way they dealt with the schedule, the rain, really not happy. I hope that things will change in the future," he said.
"I'm really tired and exhausted. If you see the time, the length of my matches in three days, you realise everything.
"It's impossible to hold on with the matches like that."
Djokovic, whose world ranking will to three on Monday, said that, scheduling problems aside, Wimbledon had been a good tournament for him.
"I had the best two weeks in Wimbledon ever, some of the best tennis I ever played," he said.
"I showed here that I really deserve being in the last four in Wimbledon and I think all the major tournaments."
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