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Djokovic targets quick return after knee surgery

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PARIS (AP) — Novak Djokovic said the surgery on his right knee “went well” after he was injured during the French Open and added Thursday that he hopes to return to competition “as soon as possible.”

Djokovic had an operation in Paris on Wednesday, two days after he hurt the knee early in the second set of a five-set victory against Francisco Cerundolo in the fourth round. The 37-year-old from Serbia withdrew from the clay-court Grand Slam tournament — where he was the defending champion — on Tuesday, so he was unable to play in the quarterfinals.

“In the past day, I had to make some tough decisions after sustaining a meniscus tear during my last match. I’m still processing it all but I am happy to update you that the surgery went well. I am so appreciative of the team of doctors who have been by my side,” Djokovic wrote on social media on Thursday, when he posted a photo showing him with crutches and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

“I’m going to do my best to be healthy and fit to return to the court as soon as possible,” he wrote. “My love for this sport is strong and the desire to compete at the highest level is what keeps me going.”

He also thanked his fans for their "overwhelming support.”

It is unclear exactly how long his recovery will take and when he will be able to play next.

Wimbledon, where he has won seven of his 24 Grand Slam titles, begins on July 1. The tennis events for the Paris Olympics start on July 27 at Roland Garros, the site of the French Open.

Djokovic was supposed to face No. 7 seed Casper Ruud, the runner-up each of the past two years in Paris, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Instead, Ruud got a walkover into the semifinals, where he will face No. 4 Alexander Zverev on Friday. The other men's semifinal will be No. 2 Jannik Sinner against No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz.

With Djokovic, the owner of three French Open titles, gone from the bracket, and Rafael Nadal — owner of a record 14 — eliminated in the first round, someone will be holding the French Open men’s trophy for the first time on Sunday.

And on Monday, when the new ATP rankings are released, Djokovic will slide down from the top spot and be replaced by Sinner, who becomes the first Italian man to get to No. 1.


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