Novak Djokovic stuns tennis world with surprise announcement ahead of French Open

The World No.1 is having a brutal year by his high standards.

Novak Djokovic has accepted a late wildcard to play at the Geneva Open next week in a surprise move not many could have predicted heading into the clay-court season. The World No.1 has suffered an alarming form slump leading into his French Open title defence, and is looking for some much-needed match practice.

The 24-time grand slam champ has endured a nightmare season by his lofty standards. He is the reigning French Open champion but has struggled to string wins together in recent months.

The 36-year-old hasn't won a single title so far in 2024 and hasn't even made a final. His best performance so far this year is his run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open and Monte Carlo Masters.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here with his wife and children.
Novak Djokovic won the French Open in 2023, but his form in 2024 has been way down. Image: Getty

He was knocked out of last week's Rome Open in the third round by the unheralded Alejandro Tabilo of Chile, which came in the next match after he was injured when accidentally struck on the head by water bottle dropped by a fan while signing autographs. Djokovic had initially laughed off the incident and even arrived at a training session wearing a cycling crash helmet, but he later revealed that he had been suffering nausea and dizzy spells.

Djokovic will join the likes of three-time major winner Andy Murray and World No.7 Casper Ruud at the Geneva Open and will be desperate to turn around his recent form woes. A spokesperson for the Swiss tournament said the Serb will likely to enjoy a bye in the first round. "He will enter in the second round, either on Tuesday or Wednesday," the official said.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after being knocked out of the Rome Open by Alejandro Tabilo.
Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Rome Open by Alejandro Tabilo.

Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev has equalled German compatriot Boris Becker's record by reaching an 11th Masters final at the Rome Open. The World No.5 ended the giant-killing run of Tabilo to set-up a title showdown with Nicolas Jarry.

Zverev, who lifted the trophy in Rome in 2017, battled back to see off Tabilo 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to go level with Becker's record for the most Masters finals by a German since the series began in 1990. Zverev looked like he would become the latest high-ranking victim of a bizarre tournament when he was battered in a sensational opening set.

Alexander Zverev.
Alexander Zverev celebrates after beating Alejandro Tabilo.

But the German battled back and came through a tight second set, before eventually showing his class to make the final at the Foro Italico for the third time. "I was just hanging on in the second set. I brought my energy up. I was really just hanging on and waiting and the patience was kind of good today," he said on court.

"He hit me off the court in the first set and I did not play well at all, but he was a big reason why. He gave me no rhythm and I am happy I turned it around in the tie-break and ran away in the third set."


Jarry won his first Masters 1000 semi-final against Tommy Paul 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3. The Chilean is guaranteed to move up to a career-high No.17 in the world rankings after reaching his seventh ATP final.

"I was able to come back with my tennis in the third set, play very aggressive," he said. "To finish the match is never easy but I made it through and it's an amazing feeling. I think that in those moments I play my best tennis, when I have to give it all and I go for it."

with agencies