Home » Djokovic quits in French Open bombshell as young gun becomes new tennis No.1

Djokovic quits in French Open bombshell as young gun becomes new tennis No.1

Djokovic quits in French Open bombshell as young gun becomes new tennis No.1

In a French Open sensation, defending champion Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from Roland Garros with a knee injury, in the process propelling Australian Open winner Jannik Sinner to the world’s top ranking in a historic moment for the sport.

A day after prevailing in his second five set epic in succession, the 24-time major champion was forced to pull out of the clay court major due to a torn meniscus in his right knee that he initially feared had worsened while playing Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday.

Shortly before 5pm in Paris on Tuesday, French Open officials confirmed the three-time champion would not be able to play.

“Due to a torn medial meniscus in his right knee (discovered during an MRI scan performed today), Novak Djokovic, who was supposed to play Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals tomorrow, has been forced to withdraw from the Roland-Garros tournament,” the statement read.

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TOPSHOT – Serbia's Novak Djokovic falls on the court during his men's singles round of sixteen match against Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day nine of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 3, 2024. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)
TOPSHOT – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic falls on the court during his men’s singles round of sixteen match against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day nine of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 3, 2024. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)Source: AFP

Djokovic later confirmed the news himself, posting to Instagram: “I am really sad to announce that I have to withdraw from Roland Garros.

“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.

“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.”

Djokovic, who was due to play dual-French Open finalist Casper Ruud in a quarterfinal on Wednesday, said he had taken painkillers to mask the pain during his five set victory Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo on Monday.

While triumphant on the court when setting a new record with his 370th win in a grand slam match, Djokovic was concerned about the extent of a problem he felt in the second set and attributed the exacerbation of the issue in part to slippery conditions at Roland Garros.

“Basically the whole fifth set was almost without any pain, which is great, you know. But then the effect of the medications will not last for too long, so I’ll see,” he said.

“I guess we’ll do some more screening and tests and check-ups tomorrow, as well. We have done some with doctor right now after the

match. Some positive news but also some maybe concerns, so let’s see tomorrow. I can’t tell you more about it at the moment.

“I have had situations in my career where I had, you know, muscle tears and different things and played with that during the tournament. I’m not the only one. Many players have played with different injuries. There are medications, anti-inflammatories, stuff that you can do.

“The adrenaline, of course, that kicks in, that helps you go through the tournament. Sometimes is a match or two, sometimes the entire tournament. Good thing about the slam is that you have a day between that will allow hopefully the healing process to happen more efficiently for me.

“That’s it. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or after tomorrow or if I’ll be able to step out on the court and play. I hope so. Let’s see what happens.”

There is no confirmation but it clearly puts into significant doubt the chances of the seven-time Wimbledon champion playing at the All England Club beginning on July 1.

Already the most successful man in history, Djokovic was seeking a 25th grand slam title that would take him beyond the 24 won by Australian Margaret Court during the amateur and Open eras.

TOPSHOT – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holds a press conference after winning men’s singles round of sixteen match against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo on day nine of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 3, 2024. Novak Djokovic pulled off another astonishing escape as he beat Argentine 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo in a five-set thriller to reach a 15th consecutive French Open quarter-final on Monday. The world number one shrugged off an injury to his right knee as he came from two sets to one down to outlast Cerundolo 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 after four hours and 39 minutes. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)Source: AFP

Sinner, who was leading two sets in his quarterfinal against Grigor Dimitrov when the news broke about Djokovic, is the first Italian man to become the world’s top ranked man.

He subsequently clinched victory 6-2 6-4 7-6 (3) and awaits the winner of a clash between Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas in a semi-final in what he expected to be “a great match up”.

Sinner was then told by former top Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in a post-match interview that he would become the world No.1 on Monday, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“What can I say? First of all, it is everyone’s dream to become No.1 in the world,” he said.

“In the other way, seeing Novak retiring … is disappointing. I wish him a speedy recovery.

“It is a special moment for me and I am very happy to be sharing this all with you guys, all the guys who are watching from home, especially from Italy.”

The 22-year-old also becomes the fourth player renowned Australian coach Darren Cahill has guided to the No. 1 ranking following his deeds working with Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simona Halep.

Had Djokovic remained in the draw, Sinner would have been guaranteed top spot regardless if he managed to make the final.

Australian star Alex de Minaur will play German No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night for the right to play Ruud in a semi-final on Friday.

He trails Zverev, who has also played consecutive matches lasting five sets, 7-2 in their head-to-head, though he lost the first four outings between the pair. The 25-year-old has won both of his outings against Ruud, the most recent in the Acapulco final in February.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 04: Jannik Sinner of Italy plays a forehand against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the Men’s Singles Quarter Final match during Day Ten of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros on June 04, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images