Novak Djokovic had to withdraw from the French Open after a knee injury

<span>Novak Djokovic receives doctor’s treatment during his fourth-round match against Francisco Cerúndolo.</span><span>Photo: Aurélien Meunier/Getty Images</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 92733dc5f5e2ca6c” data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 3dc5f5e2ca6c”/><button class=

Novak Djokovic receives doctor’s treatment during his fourth-round match against Francisco Cerúndolo.Photo: Aurélien Meunier/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, has been forced to withdraw from the French Open due to a torn medial meniscus suffered during his dramatic five-set victory against Francisco Cerúndolo, Argentina’s 23rd seed, on Monday.

“I am truly sad to announce that I have to withdraw from Roland Garros,” Djokovic said in a statement on social media. “I played with my heart and gave everything in yesterday’s match and unfortunately, due to a medial meniscus tear in my right knee, my team and I had to make a difficult decision after careful consideration and consultation.

Related: French Open quarterfinals: Sinner beats Dimitrov, Swiatek beats Vondrousova – as it happened

“I wish the players competing this week the best of luck and sincerely thank the incredible fans for all the love and continued support.”

Djokovic was leading by a set on Court Philippe-Chatrier when he slipped on the court and hurt his knee. After treatment, the 37-year-old was extremely critical of the condition of the French Open courts; he believed that the rain and bad weather had affected the tracks, removing some of the top layer of clay and making it much slippery. In his conversation with the tournament supervisor, Wayne McKewen, Djokovic expressed his frustration that the courts were not swept more often.

“It looks like some of the clay has been removed, so there was very little, almost no clay on the track today,” he said. “The drier conditions, the sun and the warmer conditions, it affects the clay so much that it becomes, you know, very slippery. So the knee injury I had today was exactly because of that, because I slipped, and I slide a lot. I mean, everyone slips on clay, but I slipped way too often.”

Despite limping around the court and going down 2-4 in the fourth set while down two sets to one, Djokovic launched another dramatic comeback to win and reach the quarter-finals. Afterwards he said that the significant amount of painkillers he had taken had allowed him to play without pain in the latter stages of the match, but he said he would only find out more after he had scans.

“After the third set was over, I asked for more medicine, and I got it,” Djokovic said. “That was the maximum dose that hit, as I now heard [a] doctor after 30 to 45 minutes, which is about the time – about the end of the fourth – when things really started to improve for me. I started to feel less restrictions in my movements. Actually, the entire fifth set was pretty much without any pain, which is great, you know. But then the effect of the medicines won’t last that long, so I’ll see.”

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With Djokovic’s withdrawal, Jannik Sinner will rise to the number 1 ranking for the first time in his career next week. Sinner will be the first Italian world number 1 in the history of the ATP rankings and the 22-year-old’s rise means that there will already be more number 1s born in the 2000s (Carlos Alcaraz and Sinner) than in the 1990s (Daniil Medvedev).

The injury also means Djokovic is a major doubt for Wimbledon, where he is a seven-time champion and finished as a finalist last year after losing to Alcaraz.

This season remains one of the most difficult years of Djokovic’s career. He arrived in Paris struggling to find form and motivation and has not won a title this year, which has only happened once at this stage of the year since he won his first title in 2006.

Despite considerable efforts from the Serb in Paris, who spent nine hours on the court in the last two matches after recovering from two sets to one down to win at 3:07 against 30th seed Lorenzo Musetti before completing another dramatic made a comeback while injured and defeated Cerúndolo, Djokovic must now work his way back from injury with just over seven weeks until the Olympics begin.

While being confirmed as the next world No. 1, Sinner continued his imperious form by beating 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3) to win the reach the semi-finals of the French Open. . Because Djokovic had withdrawn during the match, Sinner only learned of his impending emergence during his on-court interview. “I am very happy with this achievement,” he said.

“It’s a lot of work that we do every day. It’s a daily routine. Obviously happy with this song. In two days there is a very important match for me, the semi-finals, so that is what I am focused on at the moment. But yes, of course very happy that I have this song now.”

After arriving in Paris with doubts about his hip injury, which had forced him to withdraw before his quarterfinals at the Madrid Open and the Italian Open, Sinner has continued to improve throughout the rounds and has marked himself as one of the top titlists . contenders. He is now 33-2 this year and by following up his Australian Open title with a semi-final in Paris, he remains unbeaten at the grand slam tournaments after 12 matches.

Sinner will look to reignite his rivalry with Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals after the third seed rolled past ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-4 on Tuesday night. After once again breaking the Greek’s vulnerable backhand and bombarding him with drop shots all night, Alcaraz’s record against Tsitsipas now stands at 6-0.

Alcaraz entered the tournament with his own physical problems after withdrawing from Rome with a forearm injury. However, the 21-year-old has gradually improved since arriving in Paris and has hit the ball exceptionally freely since his third round match. Whoever survives this huge semi-final on Friday afternoon will be a heavy favorite to end the tournament with his first French Open title.

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