Novak Djokovic set for knee surgery which will rule him out of Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic set for knee surgery which will rule him out of Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic is to undergo knee surgery in Paris which will rule him out of Wimbledon, according to reports in France.

The 24-time grand slam champion suffered a knee injury during his five-set win over Francisco Cerundolo in the French Open fourth round on Monday.

Djokovic underwent an MRI scan on Tuesday which revealed a torn medial meniscus in his right knee and forced him to withdraw from the tournament.

L’Equipe report that Djokovic will have surgery on Wednesday which would make his participation at Wimbledon, which begins on July 1, virtually impossible.

But the 37-year-old could be fit in time for the Paris Olympics, with the tennis event also being played at Roland Garros and beginning on July 27.

Djokovic won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008 and has made no secret of his desire to add a gold medal to his glittering career record.

Johnny Wilson, lead physiotherapist at 108 Harley Street, would not completely rule out Djokovic competing at Wimbledon but branded it “very unlikely”.

Wilson told the PA news agency: “They’ve gone for surgery to give him the best opportunity to make Wimbledon, I’ve no doubt about that. You won’t make a decision that quick if there isn’t something impending.

“The Olympics is more likely. If you’re going for minor surgery today, I’m not sure that’s a great idea. But any surgeon who would say they could predict the future, I would question that.”

Djokovic prefers natural remedies to surgical interventions and revealed he cried for several days after undergoing an elbow operation in 2018, so the fact he has made this decision so quickly is telling.

“For an athlete who’s at the latter stages of his career, time is not your friend,” said Wilson.

“It will also depend on the actual tear. There are different types of meniscal tears. Some of them can be managed conservatively whereas some do better with surgery. Surgery kind of is a last-case scenario.

“The medial meniscus and lateral meniscus are crucial for the health of the knee – lateral meniscus more so. The fact he is having surgery would say it’s a significant derangement of the medial meniscus.”

Shaun O’Brien, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and knee specialist, believes Djokovic’s age and the urgency of the situation is likely to have influenced him to undergo a minor procedure.

“If he was Carlos Alcaraz’s age, I’m sure they would go for a meniscal cartilage repair because he’s got 10, 15 years of a long professional career ahead of him and they want to try to preserve that knee as long as possible,” said O’Brien.

“But, if they repair it, he would be out for several months, there would be no way he would play Wimbledon or the Olympics.

“But, if they just trim back the little bit that’s torn, he’ll be back into light training in about three to four weeks’ time with the hope of maybe getting back to some competitive tennis round about six to eight weeks’ time.

“I’ve got no idea about where the tear is, what the configuration is, how big it is, but he’s probably had it trimmed back a little bit to give him the best chance of playing in the Olympics.”

The seven-time Wimbledon winner gave no hints of a recovery period in an statement on Tuesday afternoon.

He said: “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.”

The Serbian’s withdrawal from Roland Garros not only cost him the chance to defend his title but also the world number one ranking, with Italian Jannik Sinner to rise to top spot on Monday.

Djokovic was due to play Norwegian seventh seed Casper Ruud, who is now straight through to the semi-finals.

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