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Djokovic withdraws from tournament due to knee injury and Sinner secures top spot in world rankings

Djokovic withdraws from tournament due to knee injury and Sinner secures top spot in world rankings

Organizers announced in a statement on Tuesday that Serbian Novak Djokovic, the reigning champion and world number one, had withdrawn from Roland Garros before a quarter-final match. Due to a knee injury he suffered during a marathon fourth-round match in which he defeated Francisco Cerundolo. The withdrawal ended the Serbian player’s attempt to strengthen his record by winning 25 Grand Slam titles, and will see him lose the top spot in the world rankings to Italian Jannik Sinner later this month.

The Serb withdrew Novak Djokovicthe defending champion and world number one tennis player, was excluded from the quarter-finals of the Roland-Garros tournament, according to what the organizers of the second Grand Slam announced on Tuesday, due to a “meniscus injury”. of the right knee” discovered during an MRI.

Djokovic, 37, injured during his quarter-final match against Argentina’s Francisco Cerondolo, which he supplemented with a high dose of anti-inflammatories, was due to meet Norwegian Casper Ruud on Wednesday, but “was forced to withdraw,” according to a press release from the Championship organizers.

Djokovic, looking to win his twenty-fifth Grand Slam title and hold the record in the amateur and professional eras, made that clear after his victory over Cerundolo 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7- 5, 6. -3 in a marathon match that lasted four hours and 37 minutes, he is not sure of his ability to play in the quarter-finals, due to the injury he suffered to his knee after slipping during the third game of the second set.

He said after his 370th Grand Slam victory: “In recent weeks I have felt some discomfort in my right knee, but that has nothing to do with a worrying injury. I played with this injury in tournaments and nothing happened until today. In the third game of the second set, I slipped. “It affected my knees.”

He added: “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, or if I will be able to get on the field and play,” explaining that his injury is linked to the lack of dirt on the field and that he was forced to finish the match thanks to anti-inflammatories.

Djokovic suffered physically in the third round, when it took him four hours and 29 minutes to get rid of Italian Lorenzo Mozzetti in a match that ended at 3:07 a.m. Sunday morning, becoming the latest match of the tournament. history of the championship. French championship.

That day, Djokovic complained about the state of the stadium’s clay floor and he repeated the same thing against Cerundolo, demanding that the court be cleaned more regularly.

“Could this injury have been avoided? Maybe if there had been more frequent on-court maintenance,” Djokovic said.

Italian Jannik Sinner was the biggest beneficiary of Djokovic’s withdrawal, as he secured the top spot in the world rankings. The Serbian therefore had to reach the final match to ensure he remained on the throne of the yellow ball rankings.

Sinner said: “What can I say? Becoming world number one is everyone’s dream. On the other hand, seeing Novak retire is very disappointing for everyone. I wish him success. I’m trying not to think about it too much, because it’s sad.”

Sinner, 22, on Monday will become the first Italian to top the world rankings, regardless of his result at Roland Garros, where he reached the semi-finals on Tuesday by beating Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov X 6-2, 6-4. , 7-6 (7-3).

Ruud, in turn, benefited from Djokovic’s withdrawal, since he was guaranteed to reach the semi-finals scheduled for Friday, without playing, and will wait for the winner of the match between the German Alexander Zverev IV or the Australian Alex de Minaur XI, scheduled for Wednesday.

Djokovic spent a record 428 weeks at the top of the world rankings.

His injury at that time is remembered as his worst start to a season since 2018, when he didn’t win a tournament until securing the Wimbledon title.

The last time Djokovic withdrew from one of the four majors was at Flushing Meadows in 2019, when a shoulder problem forced him to retire against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16 .

Djokovic now faces a race against time to be ready for the Wimbledon Championship, which begins on July 1.

The Serbian has won the All England Club title seven times, one title shy of the record set by Switzerland’s Roger Federer.

France 24/AFP

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