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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday June 4, 2024

Paris – The right knee issues that plagued Novak Djokovic during his five-set win over Francisco Cerundolo on Monday in Paris have been bothering the 37-year-old for weeks.

Tennis Express

“For the last couple weeks I have had, I would say, slight discomfort, I would call it that way, in the right knee, but I haven't had an injury that would be concerning me at all,” the 24-time major champion told reporters after rallying past Cerundolo, 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. ‘I was playing a few tournaments with it, and no issues until today.”

The World No.1, who is slated to face Norway’s Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, says he hopes to turn up fine for the remainder of the tournament, but isn’t sure.

“Basically the whole fifth set was almost without any pain, which is great,” He said. “But then the effect of the medications will not last for too long, so I'll see. I guess we'll do some more screening and tests and checkups tomorrow, as well.

“We have done some with doctor right now after the match. Some positive news but also some maybe concerns, so let's see tomorrow. I can't tell you more about it at the moment.”

It was strange scenes on Monday in Court Philippe-Chatrier, as Djokovic moved ahead by a set, winning six of the first seve games of the match. But in the third game of the second set he tweaked his knee and things would go sideways in the match from there. Djokovic met with doctors on court, and over the course of the match he took pain medication twice. The last time he took a larger dose, which he says enabled him to feel better in the fourth set.

Feeling less pain, he was once again able to move freely, and the Grand Slam king engineered his stunning comeback, rallying from two sets two one down, and a break to win in five.

“I didn't know, to be honest, whether I should continue or not with what's happening,” he told reporters. “I got the medications, and then after the third set was done, I asked for more medications, and I got them.

“That was the maximum dose that kicked in, as I heard now from the doctor after 30 to 45 minutes, which was just about the time kind of end of the fourth when things started to really improve for me. I started to feel less limitations in my movement.”

Djokovic will have to recover well if he is to win a record 25th major title – and fourth Roland-Garros title – this weekend in Paris.

Slipping and Sliding

Djokovic was miffed on court about the fact that the groundscrew wouldn’t sweep the courts during sets. He said that the change in weather made the courts slippery and repeatedly asked that the courts be swept every two changeovers, rather than just after each set, but his request was denied.

“Because of the drier conditions and sun and warmer conditions, it affects the clay in such a way that, you know, it becomes very slippery,” he said. “So the injury that I had today with the knee happened exactly because of that, because I slipped, and I slide a lot. I mean, everyone slides on clay, but I slipped way too many times. That is quite unusual, you know. Of course I do, because I have an aggressive kind of movement, dynamic change of directions. It's normal for me, I've slipped and fell on the clay many times in my life, and on grass as well, but this was just too many times, you know, today.”

He praised the courts at Roland-Garros, but still believes they should be swept more.

“I've had a conversation with the chair umpire where I just asked, you know, would it be possible to sweep the court?” he said. “I understand not every changeover but every second, every third changeover. You know, not to wait for a set to finish but to have just slightly more frequent care of the court.

“She said she'll check, and she spoke to the grounds people or supervisor, supervisor to grounds people, and the answer was no. I asked for the supervisor to have a conversation, and I just asked for explanation. “Look, I'm not pointing fingers, that it is blaming whoever, a group or an individual… I'm just trying to understand in this whole process what is the damage to the court to sweep it.”