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Novak Djokovic: Defending champion isn't sure he can continue at the French Open after injuring right knee

Novak Djokovic uncertain he will be able to play Casper Ruud in the French Open quarter-finals on Wednesday after picking up a knee injury; you can watch Andy Murray in action at the Stuttgart Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis from June 10-16

Novak Djokovic of Serbia looks on in the Men's Singles fourth round match during Day Nine of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros on June 03, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franco Arland/Getty Images)
Image: Novak Djokovic is unsure whether he will be able to play in the French Open quarter-finals after injuring his right knee on Monday

Novak Djokovic is uncertain he will be able to play in the French Open quarter-finals on Wednesday after injuring his right knee and needing anti-inflammatory tablets during an epic fourth-round victory over Francisco Cerundolo.

The world No 1 limped into the quarter-finals at Roland Garros after defying a knee injury to come through the longest Roland Garros match of his career.

He defeated Cerundolo - in another five-setter - 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 in four hours and 39 minutes.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion, whose five-set match against Lorenzo Musetti finished after 3am on Sunday morning, revealed that he has been bothered by the knee for a couple of weeks, but the injury reoccurred when he slipped on court at the start of the second set and tweaked it.

He began grimacing and rubbing his right knee shortly after taking the first set and required a medical time-out in the next before being visited by a trainer and a doctor on a number of separate occasions.

Djokovic was heard telling the physio: "I screwed up my knee. I'm slipping and sliding all the time."

Novak Djokovic of Sebia rubs his knee on his way to defeating Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in their fourth round match during day nine of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros on June 03, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Image: Djokovic rubs his knee after winning the opening set

The 37-year-old is due to face Casper Ruud in a rematch of last year's final on Wednesday.

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"At one point I didn't know whether I should continue or not with what's happening. I got the medications and then, after the third set was done, I asked for more medications and got them," said the three-time Roland Garros champion.

"That was the maximum dose that kicked in... after 30 to 45 minutes, which was about the time at the end of the fourth set, when things started to really improve for me. I started to feel less limitations in my movement.

"The whole fifth set was almost without any pain, which is great. But the effect of the medications will not last for too long, so I'll see. We'll do some more screening and tests and check-ups tomorrow, as well.

"We've done some with the doctor now. Some positive news but also some concerns, so let's see tomorrow. I can't tell you more about it at the moment. I'm glad I was able to play fifth set... without feeling pain I felt for two-and-a-half-sets. But you never know what will happen tomorrow.

"Good thing about the Slam is that you have a day between that will allow hopefully the healing process to happen more efficiently for me.

"That's it. I don't know what will happen tomorrow - or after tomorrow, if I'll be able to step out on the court and play. You know, I hope so. Let's see what happens.

"This is something that happened. It's unplanned and unpredictable injury, and so I have to rethink or reprogramme with my medical team and physio the recovery time and focus it mostly on the knee."

Djokovic, who also took a tumble late in the contest, said drier conditions after a week of rain had affected the clay.

"The injury that I had today with the knee happened exactly because of that, because I slipped and slid a lot," he added.

"Everyone slides on clay, but I slipped way too many times. That is quite unusual. I do, because I have an aggressive kind of movement, dynamic change of directions. It's normal for me.

"I've slipped and fallen on the clay many times in my life, and on grass as well, but this was just too many times today."

Djokovic said his team were having a conversation with tournament officials about why his requests to have the courts swept more frequently were being denied.

"Today I injured myself. I survived. I won the match. Great. But will I be able to play next one? I don't know," he added.

"I don't know the severity of the injury. But could have this injury be prevented? Possibly, if there was just a little bit more of frequent care of the court during the set."

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