Novak Djokovic’s career over?

6 June, 2024

There is growing speculation that a knee injury could “finish” Novak Djokovic’s tennis career after he withdrew from the Quarter Finals of the French open.

Novak Djokovic is widely regarded as the most dominant tennis player of the modern era and the greatest of all time in Grand Slams.

Remarkably free from injuries, Djokovic has amassed 24 major singles titles due to his fluid playing style. However, there is increasing speculation that his latest injury might end his career.

On Tuesday, Djokovic withdrew from the French Open before his quarter-final match against Casper Ruud.

An MRI scan revealed a meniscus tear, the same injury that ended Roger Federer’s career. Treatments for a meniscus tear range from rest to surgery.

“I am really sad to announce that I have to withdraw from Roland Garros,”

Novak Djokovic via social media

“I played with my heart and gave my all in yesterday’s match, but 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 37-year-old Djokovic had cast doubt over his fitness following his five-set win over Francisco Cerundolo on Monday, admitting he needed anti-inflammatory drugs to get through the match.

Djokovic blamed the “slippery” Philippe Chatrier court for the injury he sustained early in the second set of his 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Cerundolo.

“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or the day after if I’ll be able to step out on the court and play. You know, I hope so. Let’s see what happens,” Novak stated after his record 370th Grand Slam win.

“For the last couple of weeks, I have had slight discomfort in the right knee, but I haven’t had an injury that concerned me at all. I was playing a few tournaments with it, and no issues until today.”

Djokovic’s injury was discussed on the Tennis Podcast, where sports commentator Catherine Whitaker called it “seismic news” and said “it’s bad.”

Host Matt Roberts noted that US pro Taylor Fritz went from being in a wheelchair to playing in Wimbledon in just four weeks, but agreed “this is bad for sure” for Novak Djokovic.

“With Wimbledon on the horizon and the Olympics as well, at this stage we just don’t know how long he‘s going to be out for.

“It’s probably the first time he’s had a serious lower body injury… in the medium term, it casts quite a lot of doubt over the summer,” he said, adding it could impact Djokovic’s motivation to continue playing tennis professionally. “We might look back on this moment as something that really signaled the end… it could be that serious.”

Host David Law mentioned that Federer once recovered from a knee injury caused by a bathroom slip to win the Australian Open and three more Grand Slam titles. “If anybody was going to do that in tennis today, I would believe that Novak Djokovic could do it. “I also think he has the kind of build that seems like it can recover and so forth.” He agreed that the injury could potentially “finish” Djokovic.

Djokovic has spent a record 428 weeks at the top of the rankings. His injury extends his worst start to a season since 2018 when he didn’t win an event until claiming the Wimbledon title.

This is only the second time this deep into the year he hasn’t lifted a trophy since winning his first ATP title as a teenager in 2006.

Adding to his problems, he was accidentally hit on the head by a metal water bottle in Rome last month before suffering stomach problems in Geneva.

Djokovic last retired at a Grand Slam during the 2019 US Open when a shoulder problem forced him to quit against Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.

He now faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon, which begins on the 1st of July. Novak is a seven-time winner at the All England Club, only one shy of Roger Federer’s record.

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