The shock, scheduled this Thursday at the Masters 1000 in Madrid, had a delicious scent of nostalgia.
But the 37th meeting between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, both born in 1987, will still have to wait, if it ever takes place.
Sick, the Scot, former world number 1 today 78th, withdrew before the round of 16 scheduled for midday, said the tournament organizers.
The Serbian, current boss of world tennis, and the Briton have not played against each other since January 2017 in Doha, more than five years ago.
Murray, a titanium hip since 2019 and the beneficiary of an invitation to the Madrid tournament, had just won his first two matches on clay since Roland-Garros 2017, against another comeback, Dominic Thiem, then against Denis Shapovalov (16th), to advance to the round of 16.
In the quarter-finals, Djokovic, who fell in the previous round of Gaël Monfils, will face the Pole Hubert Hurkacz (14th) or the Serbian Dusan Lajovic (77th).
End of epic for Puglia
Speaking of tennis resurrection, Lucas Pouille's journey to Madrid ended in the second round on Wednesday night.
World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas was too strong for the ex-Top 10 today beyond world 150, dispatched 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old Northerner, in difficulty since his right elbow operation, had signed his best victory for almost three years on Monday evening at the expense of Karen Khachanov (26th)
Madrid Masters 1000: Novak Djokovic without mercy for Gaël Monfils, beaten for the 18th time in 18 confrontations ... Relive this match live
Madrid: Against Khachanov, Puglia offers its most prestigious victory since August 2019