Novak Djokovic is Wimbledon doubt after reported knee surgery

Estimated read time 3 min read

Novak Djokovic’s chances of ­competing at Wimbledon further diminished after he reportedly underwent knee surgery in Paris on Wednesday, a day after withdrawing from the French Open due to a medial meniscus tear.

According to a report by the sports newspaper L’Équipe, Djokovic had surgery in France on Wednesday morning and his recovery will take at least three weeks. The seven-times Wimbledon winner is highly unlikely to compete at the championships this year, which begin on 1 July.

An Olympic gold medal remains the one achievement that has eluded Djokovic in his career and he has repeatedly described the Paris Games as one of his top goals this year. Djokovic’s knee injury presents a significant blow to his chances but by swiftly undergoing surgery the Serb has given himself a shot at being ready to compete.

Djokovic won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games but they have usually been a site of significant misfortune. In Tokyo, Djokovic finished in fourth place in singles, losing to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and Pablo Carreño Busta in the bronze-medal match, and also in mixed doubles.

On Monday, Djokovic tore his medial meniscus after slipping on the court during his fourth round win over Francisco Cerúndolo, the 23rd seed. After the slip, Djokovic criticised the conditions on Court Philippe-Chatrier, which he said did not have enough clay on the top layer and was therefore too slippery. He was able to recover after taking a considerable amount of ­painkillers to win in five sets but an MRI after the match confirmed his worst fears. With Djokovic’s ­withdrawal, Jannik Sinner will become the new  men’s No 1.

“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 said on Tuesday.

Djokovic will hope to follow the lead set by Taylor Fritz, who tore a meniscus during his Roland Garros second round loss in 2021 and left the court in a wheelchair. A month later, the American remarkably reached the third round of Wimbledon.

This is uncharted territory for ­Djokovic, who has remained ­remarkably healthy throughout his career. He has rarely suffered such a significant injury during a match and at 37 all setbacks come with ­elevated risks.

In 2018, he reluctantly had ­surgery on an elbow, previously his most significant injury, only after months of attempting to heal it naturally.

This rapid intervention two days after suffering the injury is reflective of the short timeline Djokovic has to be ready for what may be his last realistic shot at the Olympics, an event that will next take place when he is 41 years old.


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