Novak Djokovic (knee) pulls out of French Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 04 Jun, 2024 at 05:26 PM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic withdrew from the French Open on Tuesday due to a right knee injury.

The 37-year-old Serbian star fought through the injury and reached the quarterfinals on Monday with a five-set victory against No. 23 seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

An MRI exam after the match revealed a torn medial meniscus.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Djokovic said he couldn't continue.

"I am really sad to announce that I have to withdraw from #rolandgarros. I played with my heart and gave my all in yesterday's match and unfortunately, due to a medial meniscus tear in my right knee, my team and I had to make a tough decision after careful consideration and consultation," Djokovic wrote. "I wish the best of luck to the players competing this week and sincerely thank the incredible fans for all of the love and continued support. See you soon. With love and gratitude, Nole."

After the match against Cerundolo, Djokovic confirmed he was having knee issues.

"For the last couple weeks I have had slight discomfort, I would call it, in the right knee, but I haven't had an injury that would be concerning me at all," Djokovic said. "I was playing a few tournaments with it, and had no issues until today.

"Of course, (the) late finish from a few nights ago didn't help the sleeping, the biorhythm, and recovery. But I actually felt great coming into the match -- as good as I could under the circumstances -- and played really well first set. Then in the third game of the second set, I slipped, one of the many times that I slipped and fell today. That affected the knee."

Djokovic, who also won titles at Roland Garros in 2016 and 2021, had been scheduled to face No. 7 seed Casper Ruud of Norway in the final eight. Ruud advances to the semifinals in a walkover.

"Not the way I wanted to advance to the semi-finals here at Roland Garros, but very happy with my win last night and to still be here in Paris and getting another chance to play on Friday!" Ruud wrote on Instagram. "Also sending best wishes and a speedy recovery to Novak and hope we see @djokernole back on court soon."

Ruud lost to Djokovic in the French Open finals last year and to 14-time champ Rafael Nadal in 2022.

Djokovic's 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory against Cerundolo took four hours and 39 minutes. That was on the heels of a five-set victory against Italy's Lorenzo Musetti that lasted four hours and 29 minutes.

His win against Cerundolo was his 370th in a Grand Slam event, breaking the record established by longtime rival Roger Federer. Djokovic has won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

Djokovic's departure from the tournament means that Jannik Sinner is guaranteed to take over at No. 1 when the new rankings are released Monday. Sinner will become the first Italian to occupy the top spot.

--Field Level Media