Sports

Novak Djokovic moves into Wimbledon semifinals when Alex de Minaur withdraws

LONDON — (AP) — Novak Djokovic got a free pass into the Wimbledon semifinals on Wednesday when his quarterfinal opponent, Alex de Minaur, withdrew with a hip injury.

De Minaur, an Australian who was seeded ninth at the All England Club, announced he was pulling out of the tournament hours before he and Djokovic were scheduled to play each other at Centre Court.

“Obviously not an announcement I wanted to make, by any means,” de Minaur said at a news conference. “I'm devastated.”

He explained that he heard a crack toward the end of his 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 fourth-round victory over Arthur Fils on Monday. De Minaur walked gingerly to the net when that match ended, but he downplayed the severity of things when he spoke to the media afterward.

The walkover places Djokovic in the Wimbledon semifinals for the 13th time, equaling Roger Federer for the most by a man in tournament history.

The second-seeded Djokovic has won seven of his men’s-record 24 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon.

Djokovic will face Taylor Fritz or Lorenzo Musetti on Friday for a berth in the final.

The extent of the injury was clear from medical exams on Tuesday, de Minaur said, but he wanted to at least give it a shot and try to play, if at all possible. But it was clear during a practice session on Wednesday morning there was no way he could compete.

He said he barely could walk before a match that would have been de Minaur's first quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon. He made it that far at the French Open last month, too.

“It's no secret that, at this stage of my career, this was the biggest match of my career. So wanted to do anything I could to play,” de Minaur said. “I knew what the results were yesterday, but I still wanted to wake up today and feel some sort of miracle and not feel it while I'm walking.”

He said he was told that he could make his hip worse if he played another match.

“The problem with me going out and playing is that one stretch, one slide, one anything, can make this injury (recovery) go from three to six weeks to four months,” de Minaur said. “It’s too much to risk.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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