Defending champion Novak Djokovic pulls out of French Open with knee injury

Djokovic has pulled out of the French Open (AP)
Djokovic has pulled out of the French Open (AP)

Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the French Open after undergoing a scan on his right knee.

The 37-year-old had endured back-to-back marathon five-setters to set up a quarter-final against Casper Ruud in Paris on Wednesday, a repeat of last year’s final.

The Serbian had warned his ongoing participation in the tournament hung in the balance after exacerbating his knee issue in defeating Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 7-3.

He needed medical treatment and painkillers early in the second set and again needed a second course of painkillers as well as further medical timeouts for treatment to get through the match.

He had sounded a positive note after the match insisting he was pain free for the final set but was booked in for a scan to see the extent of the damage on Tuesday.

Announcing the news in a brief statement, French Open officials said: “Djokovic has withdrawn from Roland-Garros due to a right knee injury. Wishing Novak a speedy recovery.”

It was later clarified as a “torn medial meniscus” and means he will be replaced by Jannik Sinner as world No1 when the rankings are revised on Monday.

It is the first time Djokovic has withdrawn injured from a grand slam since the US Open back in 2019 and there will inevitably be questions about his recovery in time for Wimbledon.