Andy Roddick gets real on all challenges Novak Djokovic faces now after knee surgery

Roddick addresses Djokovic tearing his knee meniscus and having surgery.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andy Roddick gets real on all challenges Novak Djokovic faces now after knee surgery
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Andy Roddick fears Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon and Paris Olympics participation is "seriously at risk" and adds that this type of injury comes at the worst possible time for the Serb. 

Earlier this week, Djokovic sustained a right knee during a five-set French Open round-of-16 win over Francisco Cerundolo. After the match and after getting an MRI, Djokovic learned that he tore his knee meniscus - which led to the defending French Open champion pulling out of his quarterfinal match and also having surgery on Wednesday. 

Early reports from Paris said it was a successful surgery and that the record 24-time Grand Slam could recover in a short time - as early as three weeks. 

“He has had surgery and a lot will depend on how bad the tear is. When I was 17, I tore my meniscus, obviously that is a younger body and played on it for like four or five months, Did it again a few months back and I just rested up, but the difference is I don’t have to play Wimbledon in a month," Roddick said on the Served with Andy Roddick podcast.

“This surgery, at least based on every kind I’ve seen and including my own, puts the Olympics out and puts Wimbledon seriously at risk. It’s not just a case of saying my knee is okay in a month because you have to train and especially Novak.

“Your special sauce is being able to grind people down, stay in rallies, move people from side to side and ask the question over and over again. Novak needs his wheels. He needs his defensive skills. He is probably the best defensive player in the history of tennis and with defense, you rely on your legs.”

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Roddick explains why this was a brutal time for Djokovic to sustain this injury

Further addressing Djokovic's injury, Roddick acknowledged this was the worst part of the year to sustain such injury because the grass season is next on the schedule - then the Paris Olympics on clay - and then the North American hard-court swing. When it specifically comes to Wimbledon, the grass is the trickiest tennis surface and one bad move there can lead to a serious injury - something that Djokovic may not be willing to risk in these circumstances.

And since movement and defense are a big part of Djokovic's game, Roddick highlights that Djokovic always needs his knees and legs to be at 100 percent to be able to play his game. With that being said, Roddick suggests that putting a curtain on 2024 may be the best thing to do in this situation. 

“Bet against the greats at your at own peril but when someone is 37 and you start having surgery on your knees, it’s a problem. A torn meniscus in your knee is not a massive thing when you are 24, 25, 26, but the timing of this sucks. It’s the shortest time of the year for a turnaround," Roddick explained. 

“I’d say grass is his best surface right now and the worst surface for the guys he’s going against. If he pulls out in two weeks, that’s bad. That also puts the US Open in jeopardy and he could just put a wrap on this season and have one final push next year. Let’s get healthy for next year.

“The classy thing to do is if you know there is no chance of playing, you haven’t hit a tennis ball or do any fitness, the best thing he could do for the field is to pull out before the (Wimbledon) draw is made.”

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Patrick Smith

Roddick on claims that Djokovic needs an Olympic gold to complete his legacy

In men's tennis, Djokovic owns the two biggest records - he has a record of 24 Grand Slams and he is also the player with the most weeks spent at the world No. 1 spot. 

During his career, Djokovic has accomplished pretty much everything possible but one thing his resume lacks - an Olympic gold medal. After suffering a major collapse in the semifinal of the Tokyo Olympics versus Alexander Zverev and failing to win the gold medal, Djokovic looked absolutely dejected. And since then, Djokovic has made it pretty clear that the 2024 Paris Olympics would be one of his biggest targets. 

Addressing that, Roddick acknowledged that it is clear that Djokovic wants an Olympic gold. But also, Roddick added that those who believe Djokovic needs an Olympic gold to complete his legacy just aren't right.

“No it doesn’t. It’s one tournament every four years in a random place that is wedged into the season. It’s just not the same for tennis players (as other athletes)," Roddick said.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Naomi Baker

The Paris Olympics are starting on July 26th and it remains to be seen if Djokovic will play.

Andy Roddick Novak Djokovic