Novak Djokovic withdraws from French Open with right knee injury

Novak Djokovic, who limped Monday during his second consecutive five-set marathon match, withdrew from the French Open on Tuesday due to a torn right medial meniscus.

Djokovic will cede his status as world No. 1 player to Jannik Sinner. The 37-year-old Serbian scored a 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo on Monday and was set to face Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Djokovic entered the tournament with a minor knee injury and admitted after Monday’s match that he was unsure if he could continue. An MRI scan revealed the extent of the injury, and Roland Garros officials made the announcement during Sinner’s 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Grigor Dimitrov.

“The good thing about Slam is you have a day in between, which will hopefully allow the healing process to happen more effectively for me,” Djokovic said on Monday. “That’s it. I don’t know what happens tomorrow or the day after tomorrow if I’ll be able to go out on the field and play. You know, I hope so. Let’s see what happens.”

The knee had been bothering him for some time, he added, but he changed it early in the second set and needed anti-inflammatory medication to finish the match in which he overtook Roger Federer as record holder for Grand Slam victories with 370.

“I wasn’t able to change direction as I wanted. I couldn’t run on most of the pitches he played, and he saw it,” he said. “Francisco saw it, and so he played a lot of drop shots, most of which I just looked at and that’s it. I didn’t move.

Rain delayed the start of Djokovic’s third-round match against Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday and it lasted 4 hours 29 minutes, with Djokovic winning 7-5, 6-7 (8-6), 2-6, 6 -3, 6. -0, at 3:08 a.m. Paris time.

Djokovic’s two five-set victories were thrillers filled with the kind of improbable shots he made ordinary. But the season as a whole was not good. Djokovic has not won any tournaments and has struggled against opponents ranked well outside the top 10.

Now the tournaments he is aiming for – Wimbledon, the US Open and the Paris Olympics – could be in jeopardy if he requires surgery. Already his grip on the No. 1 ranking has crumbled, with Sinner propelled to the top spot thanks to wins at the Australian Open and Miami Open, as well as appearances in the semis. finals in Indian Wells, California, and Monte Carlo.

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