Novak Djokovic in worrying injury development after surviving huge French Open scare

Djokovic survived another five-set scare to progress to the quarter finals of the French Open.

Novak Djokovic admits he may be forced to withdraw from his quarter-final match at the French Open despite surviving a second consecutive five-set thriller. On Monday, Djokovic was pushed to the physical and mental limit by Argentine Francisco Cerundolo but not even a knee injury could prevent him from scoring a dramatic comeback 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory.

The defending French Open champion entered his last 16 match with minimal rest after a 3am finish in the previous round, and again found himself on the brink of being knocked, this time by Cerundolo. But Djokovic managed to claw his way back into the match and bring up a record 370th win at a grand slam - surpassing the landmark for most major wins previously held by Roger Federer.

Pictured Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic survived another five-set scare to progress to the quarter finals of the French Open but admits he may not take the court after injuring his knee. Image: Getty

The win also keeps the World No.1 on course for a record-extending 25th grand slam title. However, the 37-year-old post-match poured cold water on those expectations.

While Djokovic has been below his best throughout the French Open, in his round of 16 match he surely was also feeling the effects of his four-and-a-half-hour third-round win over Lorenzo Musetti in the early hours of Sunday before going through another gritty match that dragged on for four hours 39 minutes.

If things weren't already tough enough, the World No.1 required treatment for a right knee injury early in the second set which left him limping through both the second and third set and contributed to him falling two sets to one behind. Djokovic was heard telling the physio, "I screwed up my knee. I'm slipping and sliding all the time".

The Serbian tennis ace then had a frosty exchange with the tournament supervisor about the condition of the court, saying he didn't have the proper traction when moving around the court which he felt led to his knee injury. "I'm telling you as a player, it's not okay," Djokovic said. To which the official responded that they felt the surface was ok.

As the match wore on many began to write Djokovic off as the No.23 seed Cerundolo looked to have the match by the scruff of the neck. The Argentinian went up 4-2 in the fourth set, only for Djokovic to once more find something in the reserves to claw back and level the contest. Djokovic then took another nasty tumble when his foot slipped once again, a common theme throughout the match, but picked himself up and fought on to take an incredible five-set victory.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic receives medical treatment during his men's singles round of sixteen match against Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day nine of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 3, 2024. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP) (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic required medical treatment for his knee in his round of 16 match against Francisco Cerundolo.

Djokovic is now set to face two-time finalist Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals. But speaking after the match the Serb wasn't sure he would be out on court for the quarter-final showdown on Wednesday.

Djokovic is set to have a scan on Tuesday to determine if he can continue the defence of his French Open title. "I have had a minor knee problem for a few weeks, but it is not a big deal," Djokovic said. "Then I slipped in the second set and I felt pain. I took a lot of painkillers and they started to take effect at the end of the fourth. I don't know if I will play in the quarterfinals, we will wait and see."


"At one point I didn’t know, to be honest, whether I should continue or not with what’s happening. I got medications and then after the third set was done, I asked for more medications and I got them.

"That was the maximum dose that kicked in, as I heard now from the doctor after 30 to 45 minutes, which was just about the end of the fourth when things started to really improve for me. I started to feel less limitations in my movement. Basically, the whole fifth set was almost without any pain, which is great, you know. But then the effect of the medications will not last for too long, so I’ll see."

Ruud, however, is hopeful that Djokovic will take the court and he won't be taking the challenge lightly and is out for revenge after the Serb got the better of him in last year's French Open final. “I’m playing the quarterfinal in a few days against Novak. I have nothing to lose. I’m gonna try to enjoy it. It’s gonna be another match against him," Ruud said.

"It’s always tough. No matter where you play him it’s one of the toughest challenges in our sport. We played obviously last year here in the final. I’m gonna try my best to get revenge."

with AAP