Novak Djokovic's surgeon raises doubt over his Wimbledon return

Novak Djokovic underwent a knee procedure in Paris last Wednesday

by Jovica Ilic
Novak Djokovic's surgeon raises doubt over his Wimbledon return
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic underwent an arthroscopy of the right knee last Wednesday in Paris, forcing him to withdraw from Roland Garros and say goodbye to the title and the ATP throne. The procedure, performed by Dr. Antoine Gerometta, addressed a meniscus issue.

Following the surgery, Djokovic was discharged from the hospital and has since returned home to begin his recovery. The 24-time Major champion is set to start rehabilitation exercises on Tuesday, facing a race against time to be fit for the third Major of the season at Wimbledon.

However, the seven-time champion at the All England Club will likely skip one of his favorite tournaments. Dr. Gerometta has stated that a full recovery within three weeks is highly unlikely.

Novak Djokovic, Roland Garros 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

With the Olympic Games approaching, the 37-year-old is expected to prioritize his long-term health and extend his recovery period.

Djokovic aims to return to peak form by the end of July, ready to pursue the elusive Olympic Gold medal. If everything goes well, the Serb will return to Paris at 100%, having almost a month and a half to leave the setback behind and compete injury-free.

Novak is experiencing his worst period since the first half of 2018, still waiting for his first ATP final in 2024 following a stellar 2023 season. The Serb arrived in Paris with right knee discomfort, which worsened following back-to-back five-setters.

Djokovic prevailed in those matches but withdrew ahead of the quarter-final encounter with Casper Ruud, undergoing procedure the next day.

Novak Djokovic, Roland Garros 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic will most likely skip Wimbledon for the first time since 2004.

Novak did not like the conditions on Court Philippe-Chatrier in his two marathon duels versus Lorenzo Musetti and Francisco Cerundolo.

The veteran prevailed in both but paid a high price, culminating in a knee procedure. Djokovic defeated Musetti with a bagel in the fifth set, finishing the duel at 3:06 am and facing Francisco Cerundolo less than two days later!

Despite a reliable start, Djokovic fell a couple of times, blasting the court and the organizers and putting his troubled knee under more pressure. World no. 1 urged the officials to sweep the court more frequently and repair the troubled parts, which they refused without a reasonable explanation.

Novak required a medical timeout and massages, trying to extend the battle and feeling better when the painkillers started to work.

Novak Djokovic, Roland Garros 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic came from the brink of defeat and took down Cerundolo in five sets, prevailing but missing the rest of the tournament.

Novak played well in the opener before falling in the early stages of the second set, starting to suffer and keeping his rival in contention. Francisco played well and grabbed a break in the late stages, leveling the overall score and dominating set number three.

The Argentine forged a 4-2 advantage in the fourth set, holding the strings of the duel in his hands and moving closer to a massive surprise. Unwilling to surrender despite an apparent struggle, Djokovic broke back and launched his comeback.

Novak moved better than in the previous part of the duel and gained confidence. He saved a break point in the 11th game and secured a break in the next one, introducing a decider and becoming the favorite after nearly three hours and 50 minutes.

The Serb fell again in the fourth game but stayed composed despite frustration, breaking the Argentine in the eighth game and moving over the top with a hold at 5-3.

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon