Novak Djokovic aiming for Wimbledon return after knee surgery

Thursday, 20 June 2024 at 21:30
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Novak Djokovic could make a surprise appearance at Wimbledon as he pushes for a comeback just weeks after knee surgery. The Serbian star has not ruled out participating at the All England Club, with reports suggesting he might return to practice soon.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion has had an uneven season, with performances falling short of expectations following his historic 2023 campaign, which saw him win three Grand Slam titles. Currently ranked world No. 3, Djokovic has yet to secure a title this season and has suffered several unexpected defeats. A couple of weeks ago, he withdrew from the French Open before his quarterfinal match against Casper Ruud, revealing he needed knee surgery.

Post-surgery recovery

Djokovic showed physical issues throughout Roland Garros. He underwent surgery two days after withdrawing from the French Open, with an initial recovery period expected to sideline him for several weeks, potentially missing the entire grass-court season, including Wimbledon.
Initially, it seemed likely he would return in time for the Olympic Games, but Djokovic's eagerness to compete in his 19th Wimbledon has him accelerating his recovery. "I’m going to do my best to be healthy and fit to return to the court as soon as possible. My love for this sport is strong, and the desire to compete at the highest level is what keeps me going," Djokovic recently commented.
Tennis journalist Craig Shapiro recently shared optimistic news about Djokovic's recovery. "Reliable sources telling me Novak hit today for the first time since the knee procedure and is pushing hard to play Wimbledon. Let’s see," he wrote on X.

Support from Taylor Fritz and Marion Bartoli

American tennis player Taylor Fritz, who experienced a similar injury in 2021, shared his insights with Tennis 365. Fritz was eliminated in the second round of the tournament but quickly returned to compete at Wimbledon weeks later. "I told him what it was like for me. A lot of it comes down to the inflammation and how you react. It’s possible for Novak to play. It’s the exact same thing that I had, and I played. Obviously, I wasn’t contending to win a title, I was just showing up to hopefully win a couple of rounds – but it is possible."
Fritz added, "When I did it, I couldn’t even walk. People are different. It’s the same actual injury. It really comes down to the level of inflammation. You pretty much have your full strength immediately. It’s more just the inflammation from the surgery. As long as you can get that down and start playing without it puffing up again, you’re actually going to be fine to play."
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli also backed a potential early return for Djokovic. "What I can tell you is that, internally, what is said is that there is a greater chance that Djokovic will play Wimbledon than the other way around," she said. "So we have to stop thinking that he won’t play at Wimbledon. And if he finally plays, of course, he will be one of the two favorites," the former world No. 7 added.

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