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Djokovic says knee operation 'went well', no return date set

Novak Djokovic received treatment during his victory against Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open after which he withdrew with a knee injury (Bertrand GUAY)
Novak Djokovic received treatment during his victory against Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open after which he withdrew with a knee injury (Bertrand GUAY)

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday he had undergone an operation on his right knee that he injured at the French Open and that it "went well", but gave no timeframe for his return.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic was forced to withdraw ahead of his Roland Garros quarter-final against Casper Ruud after a scan revealed a torn medial meniscus in his right knee.

"In the past day, I had to make some tough decisions after sustaining a meniscus tear during my last match," he posted on social media.

"I'm still processing it all but I am happy to update you that the surgery went well.

"I am so appreciative of the team of doctors who have been by my side as well as the overwhelming support I have received from my fans."

The 37-year-old made no mention of whether he would be fit to take part at Wimbledon which begins on July 1 but added that he was going to "do my best to be healthy and fit to return to the court as soon as possible".

"My love for this sport is strong and the desire to compete at the highest level is what keeps me going," he added.

Djokovic withdrew from the French Open after winning a five-set match against Francisco Cerundolo and went on to blame the "slippery" Roland Garros courts for aggravating the problem.

"For the last couple weeks I have had, I would say, slight discomfort, I would call it that way, in the right knee, but I haven't had an injury that would be concerning me at all," Djokovic said after his record 370th win at a Grand Slam.

"I was playing a few tournaments with it, and no issues until today."

- Olympics the priority -

The Cerundolo victory was Djokovic's second five-setter in quick succession having come through a gruelling four-hour, 29-minute slog against Lorenzo Musetti in the third round that concluded at 3:07 am Sunday morning, the latest finish in French Open history.

Ruud, who lost to Djokovic in last year's final, received a walkover and will now play Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on Friday.

Djokovic's injury-enforced exit from the tournament means that Jannik Sinner will become Italy's first number one in the sport next week.

For the first time since 2004, the men's final in Paris will not feature Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.

Djokovic has long said he will prioritise the Olympic Games this summer as he chases an elusive singles gold, putting his status for Wimbledon in doubt.

"The Paris Olympics are very important, the Olympics have always been a priority for me," Djokovic said in April ahead of the clay swing in Monte Carlo.

"It's all about building my game for clay courts. I want to reach my peak for Paris - that's where I want to play my best tennis. Anything else is a bonus, so let's see what happens."

Should he sit out Wimbledon it could be the first Grand Slam main draw not to feature Djokovic, Nadal, or Federer since the 1999 US Open.

Nadal lost in the first round at Roland Garros this year and revealed it was unlikely he would play on grass because the transition back to clay for the Olympics would be tough.

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