World No. 1 Novak Djokovic Withdraws From French Open, Jannik Sinner Becomes New No. 1

Adam Zagoria
3 Min Read

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the French Open after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee in Monday’s five-set win over Francisco Cerundolo, making Jannik Sinner the first ever Italian man to become world No. 1 on Monday.

Sinner will become the 29th world No. 1 since the rankings started.

Djokovic, who is seeking a record 25th Grand Slam title, was due to face Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Ruud will get a walkover in the quarterfinals and will face either Alexander Zverev or Alex De Minaur in the top half of the draw.

“I have had some minor knee issue for few weeks, but no big deal,” Djokovic said following his 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 fourth-round victory. “Then I slipped in [the] second set and I felt pain. I took a lot of painkillers and they started to work, end of 4th. I don’t know if I’ll play quarterfinal, we’ll wait and see.”

With 14-time champion Rafael Nadal already out, the final weekend of Roland Garros won’t include two men who have combined to win 46 major titles.

Djokovic’s status for Wimbledon, which begins July 1, remains uncertain but he may be forced to miss extended time — possibly 3-6 months — with the injury. However, American Taylor Fritz suffered a similar injury at Roland Garros in 2021 and was back within a month for Wimbledon.

Djokovic had to play two 4 1/2 five-set matches against Lorenzo Musetti in the third round and then Cerundolo in the fourth.

He took a medical timeout in the early part of the second set against Cerundolo after appearing to tweak his knee during a lengthy point that saw him scramble around the court.

“I started feeling the pain [in set two] and asked for the physio treatment and the medical timeout and tried to take care of it,” he said. “It did disrupt me definitely in play. For two sets, two sets and a half, I didn’t want to stay in the rally too long. Every time he would make sudden drop shots or change directions, I would not be feeling comfortable to do the running.

“At one point I didn’t know, to be honest, whether I should continue or not with what’s happening.”

The three-time Roland Garros champion ultimately overcame the injury to win, avoiding his first loss in a major before the quarterfinals since the 2020 U.S. Open when he was defaulted for hitting a line judge with a ball. He earned his 370th career major win, breaking a tie with Roger Federer.

Two-time major champ Carlos Alcaraz was the betting favorite entering the tournament and could face Sinner in the semifinals.

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