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Novak Djokovic out of French Open with knee injury

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Paris — Novak Djokovic’s disappointing season continued on Tuesday when the defending French Open champion was forced to pull out of the Grand Slam with a knee injury that could threaten his Wimbledon and Olympic chances.

The injury, sustained in his fourth-round win over Francisco Cerundolo, ended the Serb’s quest to win a record-extending 25th Grand Slam trophy and will result in him losing his top ranking to Italian Jannik Sinner.

“Due to a torn medial meniscus in his right knee [discovered during an MRI scan], Djokovic, who was supposed to play Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals tomorrow, has been forced to withdraw from the Roland Garros tournament,” tournament organisers said.

Last year’s runner-up and seventh seed Ruud will now advance to the semi-finals, where he could take on fourth seed Alexander Zverev or 11th seed Alex de Minaur.

Djokovic said on Instagram that he was disappointed to pull out of the tournament he has won three times.

“I played with my heart and gave my all in yesterday’s match,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately 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.”

Monday’s marathon match was the second straight clash in which Djokovic was taken to five sets following his epic against Lorenzo Musetti and he has spent over nine hours on court in the last two rounds at the year’s second Major.

The Serb said he had been carrying an injury for a couple of weeks and that the problem had flared up when he slipped during his match against Cerundolo, which he completed with the help of pain-killers.

The injury could also cast doubts over his fitness for July’s Wimbledon and the Paris Olympic Games that follow.

It has been a season to forget for Djokovic after his bid for a record-extending 11th Australian Open title was ended by eventual champion Sinner in the semifinals, before he lost to lucky loser Luca Nardi early at Indian Wells.

Having been stunned by Ruud in the Monte Carlo semifinals, Djokovic was thrashed 6-2 6-3 by Alejandro Tabilo in the third round in Rome last month, two days after being hit on the head by a fan’s water bottle while signing autographs.

He was also beaten in three sets by unheralded Tomas Machac in the Geneva semifinals ahead of Roland Garros.

Djokovic is still without a trophy this year after one of the most dominant seasons of his glittering career in 2023, during which he claimed three of the four Grand Slam titles.

Reuters

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