The defending champion was forced to withdraw with a wrist injury.
Novak Djokovic has saved two match points to claim a fifth Wimbledon singles crown with an epic five-set final win over eight-time champion Roger Federer.
In a captivating four-hour, 57-minute final of wildly fluctuating fortunes, Djokovic denied Federer 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 12-10 (7-3) to retain the title he won last year and add to the trophies he also landed at the All England Club in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Following a rule change introduced only this year, Sunday’s epic final set – which stretched more than two hours alone – was the first ever decided in a tiebreaker after games were locked at 12-all.
Djokovic’s 16th grand slam title vaulted the Serbian superstar to within four of Federer’s record 20 and two behind Rafael Nadal’s 18.
After winning four of the past five slams, few would back against the 32-year-old from reeling in Federer’s benchmark haul as the battle for greatest of all time (GOAT) status intensifies.
For now, Djokovic can savour emulating the five-time Wimbledon feats of the legendary Bjorn Borg (1976-80) and Englishman Laurie Doherty (1902-1906) in the most extraordinary fashion.
Three weeks shy of his 38th birthday, Federer had been bidding to become the oldest grand slam singles champion in 51 years of professional tennis.
Alas, it all ended in heartbreak for the veteran Swiss, who lost for the third time at grand slam level after holding match points.
He endured the same devastating fate in the 2010 and 2011 US Open semi-finals.
Federer also won more points and more games, conjured more break points and delivered almost three times as many aces as the Serb.
But it was Djokovic who celebrated by eating the famous centre court grass following an exceptional counter-punching performance.
Federer will forever rue also blowing the first and third sets in tiebreakers having dominated Djokovic for much of the match with some breathtaking attacking tennis.