Novak Djokovic’s Wimbledon and Olympic hopes in jeopardy after knee injury

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn  (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic has withdrawn (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic’s hopes of challenging at Wimbledon and Paris 2024 appear to be in doubt after the 24-time grand slam champion’s knee injury.

Djokovic has been forced to withdraw from the French Open after suffering a meniscus tear in his fourth round win over Francisco Cerundolo.

The Serbian, who will lose his spot at the top of the rankings to Jannik Sinner on Monday, had been among the favourites at Roland Garros as he pursues a record 25th major title.

And the 37-year-old could yet be forced to miss Wimbledon, too, with the grass-court grand slam just a matter of weeks away, starting on July 1.

Boris Becker, who coached Djokovic between 2014 and 2016, fears that he will struggle to recover in time,

“It’s a serious injury and it won’t go away tomorrow,” three-time Wimbledon winner Becker told Eurosport. “That leaves me a bit speechless. You need your knees on grass, you really do slip all the time.

Novak Djokovic suffered a knee injury at Roland Garros (REUTERS)
Novak Djokovic suffered a knee injury at Roland Garros (REUTERS)

“A torn medial meniscus is a serious injury and the question naturally arises as to whether surgery is necessary.”

Djokovic had also been targeting an Olympic gold this summer, with the tennis at Paris 2024 being held on the same Roland Garros courts on which the Serbian sustained his injury.

Despite his dominance on tour, he has only a bronze medal at Beijing 2008 to show for his Olympic efforts so far, and described the event as “a priority” in April.

Former British professional Annabel Croft is confident that Djokovic will find a way to compete on the French capital clay in late July and early August.

“Only time will tell, and of course he was very keen to try and play in the Olympics,” Croft said to Sky Sports. “That’s something that he wants desperately, is that gold medal, so I think a lot of his year was kind of geared up towards focusing on that in a very, very big goal for him.

Djokovic could return to the Paris clay courts at the Olympics later this summer (REUTERS)
Djokovic could return to the Paris clay courts at the Olympics later this summer (REUTERS)

“I guess he’s going to have further investigation, tests and a lot of treatments to see what he can do. He has done some extraordinary things with his body when he’s had injury problems in the past. He’s used oxygen therapy to try to sort of take down swelling and to reduce injuries.

“Knowing the character that he is and how professional he is, he will leave no stone unturned and he will look into absolutely the best advice, the best treatments, the best physios, the best everything that he possibly can to get himself fit, ready and back on the court again.”