Will Novak Djokovic’s French Open injury derail Wimbledon or force retirement?

Novak Djokovic pictured in action against Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open
Novak Djokovic is set to be ruled out for at least three weeks (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic has been forced to pull out of the French Open due to injury, and his meniscus tear could be a huge problem for Wimbledon and beyond.

Djokovic was aiming to clinch a historic 25th Grand Slam singles title at Roland-Garros but picked up a nasty right knee problem against Francisco Cerundolo.

The 37-year-old beat the Argentine over five sets but was in clear discomfort, requiring medical time outs and painkillers to complete the fourth-round match.

Prior to his quarter-final clash against Casper Ruud, Djokovic took the difficult decision to withdraw from the major event, played on the clay courts in Paris, and attentions have now turned to his recovery time and when he’ll return.

What do we know about Novak Djokovic’s meniscus tear?

Novak Djokovic pictured in a medical time out againstFrancisco Cerundolo at the French Open
Novak Djokovic needed medical time outs and painkillers on Monday (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic has suffered a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. The meniscus is a semicircle of cartilage that sits on the inside half of the knee joint.

Djokovic’s team decided that the Serbian veteran would undergo surgery, according to L’Équipe, which took place in a Parisian clinic today (Wednesday).

A young French surgeon performed the procedure and Djokovic be now be ruled out for at least three weeks.

Will Novak Djokovic be fit enough to play Wimbledon?

Novak Djokovic in action against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2023
Novak Djokovic is likely to miss Wimbledon and prioritise the Olympics (Picture: Getty)

Given his incredible success at the Championships, there is no doubt Novak Djokovic will be desperate to play Wimbledon in 2024.

He will especially be keen to feature in SW19 after losing last year’s final to Carlos Alcaraz and failing to clinch either of the first two Grand Slams of this year.

But with the Championships getting underway on July 1 – and Djokovic set for at least three weeks on the sidelines – he now faces a huge race against time.

L’Équipe report that Djokovic is likely to miss Wimbledon and prioritise his fitness for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

What Novak Djokovic has said about tennis retirement

Novak Djokovic speaks to the crowd at the 2024 French Open after beating Lorenzo Musetti
Novak Djokovic is keen to clinch an Olympic gold medal this summer (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic’s meniscus tear will not force him into hanging up his racket just yet, with the Serbian keen to clinch a gold medal in Paris this summer.

It’s a very common injury among active adults, especially middle-aged men and especially among tennis players who have had long careers.

Roger Federer had surgery on a torn meniscus in his mid 30s while Taylor Fritz played Wimbledon 23 days after an operation on the injury, although the latter was treated with a debridement.

What is debridement?

Surgery to cut out dead tissue, known as debridement, is often necessary to prevent spreading and to allow the surrounding healthy tissue to heal, according to the NHS.

That being said, Djokovic has spoken about retirement on several occasions and has acknowledged that he is coming to the end of his career.

Djokovic said he ‘doesn’t know how long he will be around’ after losing last year’s Wimbledon final while his own father is keen to see him enter retirement.

In March this year, Djokovic admitted: ‘Rafa [Nadal] and I are probably not going to play much more.’

Who’ll win French Open after Novak Djokovic withdrawal?

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz are the two biggest favourites to clinch this year’s Roland-Garros title following Novak Djokovic’s exit.

Sinner, set to overtake Djokovic as the new world No.1, won the first Grand Slam of 2024 at the Australian Open and is looking to land back-to-back major titles.

Alcaraz, the current Wimbledon champion, will fancy his own chances as he gets ready for a French Open semi-final showdown against Sinner on Friday.

Casper Ruud is in the other semi-final and he will face either Alexander Zverev, who eliminated Rafael Nadal, or Katie Boulter’s boyfriend Alex de Minaur.

How bad has 2024 been for Novak Djokovic?

Really quite bad. He still hasn’t landed a single title on the ATP Tour this year, which seems unbelievable given his usual dominance.

Even at the Grand Slams, where Djokovic famously goes up a gear, he has struggled, crashing out of the Australian Open semi-finals before his French Open exit due to injury.

He split with his coach Goran Ivanisevic this year and suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats of his whole career at Indian Wells in March.

Djokovic played the Italian Open in May, losing in the round of 32 in his fastest defeat on clay, with the Serbian booed off and hit by a water bottle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *