Having made the sixth Major semi-final of his career in Paris earlier this month, one of the tournament’s dark horses on the men’s side has quietly departed SW19 without hitting a ball: Marin Cilic  revealing he’s still unwell after a positive COVID test, so Portuguese lucky loser Nuno Borges will replace him in tomorrow’s R1 match against America’s Mackenzie McDonald.
Cilic the latest high-profile name to withdraw
- Failure to recover from COVID-19 diagnosis in time means that Cilic, seeded 14th at this year’s Championships, ends a run of 28 consecutive Major appearances
- 2014 US Open champ, a 2017 Wimbledon runner-up, will be replaced by Portuguese lucky loser Nuno Borges in a section featuring 22-time Major titlist Rafael Nadal
- 2022 Australian Open semi-finalist Madison Keys  and Cilic’s Croatian compatriot Borna Coric both withdrew with respective injuries over last 48 hours before Day 1
Keys (abdominal), Coric (shoulder) and now Cilic (COVID-19). High-profile players continue to withdraw from Wimbledon 2022, with the latest one – a dark horse for a deep run – breaking his own news during the evening on another eventful curtain-raiser at this year’s Championships.
Cilic, who blew away world no. 1 Daniil Medvedev during an electric run to the final four in Paris earlier this month, wasn’t given a favourable section of the draw by any stretch but the 33-year-old has been in such great form of late that a deep run at SW19 wouldn’t have been surprising.
As mentioned earlier, the 14th seed was projected to have played Rafael Nadal – the eventual Roland Garros titlist – in the fourth round had both progressed through as expected. This year marks the first since 2019 the legendary Spaniard will make an appearance in south London.
Other withdrawal-related tidbits
Keys, originally slated to play Japan’s Misaki Doi  in R1, will be replaced in the draw by China’s Zhang Shuai – a 2019 Wimbledon quarter-finalist – in the same section as US Open champion Emma Raducanu  and 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins .
Meanwhile Cilic’s Croatian compatriot Borna Coric, who reached the 2020 US Open quarter-finals, has now been absent from five of the last seven Major tournaments through injury.
The 25-year-old underwent shoulder surgery last May, withdrew from the Australian Open as he hadn’t fully recovered to compete, and lost to Grigor Dimitrov  in R2 at Roland Garros.
Update: Tuesday, June 28 – berrettini and dimitrov also out
Last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini has joined Marin Cilic in withdrawing from this summer’s Major tournament after revealing he too tested positive for coronavirus.
The 26-year-old, who said he had non-severe flu symptoms and isolated over the past few days, was slated to face Chile’s Cristian Garin and has been replaced by Swedish lucky loser Elias Ymer.
Per The Guardian’s Tumaini Carayol, the tournament are reviewing their COVID-19 protocols after two seeds withdrew following positive tests within a 24-hour period. This is the first year since 2019 that it’s at full capacity, with a spokesperson for the All England Club saying:
“As a major event we have and continue to work in conjunction with the UK Public Health Security Agency and our Local Authority.
We have maintained enhanced cleaning and hand sanitising operations, and offer full medical support for anyone feeling unwell.
We are following UK guidance around assessment and isolation of any potential infectious disease. Our player medical team also continue to wear face masks for any consultation.”
Elsewhere early on Day 2… Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, the 18th seed, has also withdrawn with a leg injury he couldn’t continue with. He led America’s Steve Johnson 6-4, 2-5 before departing.
I’ll be producing daily round-ups with the latest results, game reports and news at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, so be sure you stay tuned to moandsports.com for the latest coverage.
Picture source: Getty Images