Novak Djokovic recovery update ahead of Wimbledon as surgeon hits back at ‘unfair criticism’

Shahida Jacobs
Roland Garros, Paris, France. 3rd June, 2024. 2024 French Open Tennis tournament, Day 9; Novak Djokovic (ser) under pressure during his match versus Francisco Cerundolo
Novak Djokovic during his match against Francisco Cerundolo at the 2024 French Open

Novak Djokovic has been warned that it will be “really difficult” to return to full fitness in time for Wimbledon following surgery.

The tennis great is currently on the mend after undergoing an operation on his right knee after he suffered a torn medial meniscus during his fourth-round match at Roland Garros.

Djokovic slipped early in the match against Francisco Cerundolo and required treatment throughout the encounter, but he still managed to win in five sets.

The following day he announced his withdrawal from the tournament and underwent surgery in a Parisian clinic with the initial recovery timeline anything between three and six weeks.

With Wimbledon getting underway on July 1, there are major question marks over his participation in the grass-court Grand Slam and Antoana Geromete, the surgeon who performed the procedure, says the rehabilitation process is well underway as he admitted it will be hard for Djokovic to be fit three weeks after the operation.

“In the 45 minutes that we spent with Novak, his team and Vincent Guiard, the doctor of the French Tennis Federation, I was very open that everything will depend on the reaction of his knee,” he told L’Equipe.

“By gradually increasing the load, we will see if it remains ‘dry’ and without swelling or pain. It will be progress from day to day, but it is impossible to predict the state in which it will be in a week, two and so on. But to be at 100% in three weeks, it really seems difficult to achieve.”

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Djokovic could opt not to take any risks at Wimbledon and instead focus all his attention on the 2024 Paris Games, which will also take place at Roland Garros.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner is earmarking the Hamburg European Open as a warm-up event for the Olympics.

Djokovic has often been accused of faking his injuries and there were also question marks about the seriousness of the injury when he struggled against Cerundolo.

But Geromete explained that it was extraordinary that Djokovic managed to continue playing.

“He’s a real force of nature because given the nature of the injury, what he’s done is extraordinary,” he said.

“As many as 99% of people would probably end up immediately in the emergency centre with a ‘locked’ knee. It is a mechanical blockage, and the reality is that only surgery can fix it. It calls into question the unfair criticism of him and the interpretations of those who say it’s not a real injury.”