Djokovic retires from French Open, Sinner is now No. 1

On Tuesday, the tournament reported that an MRI scan revealed the extent of Djokovic’s injury. The injury occurred during his match against Francisco Cerundolo, ranked No. 23, in the fourth round of the French Open. The match lasted for five sets and lasted for more than 4 and a half hours. This was Djokovic’s second consecutive five-set match, with his total time on court for both matches being over 9 hours.

The 24-time champion of Grand Slam was initially set to compete against the No. 7 seed, Casper Ruud, who has been the runner-up at Roland Garros for the past two years. However, Ruud will now advance to the semi-finals without playing a match, as his opponent, No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, has withdrawn due to an injury. Ruud will now face either No. 4 Alexander Zverev or No. 11 Alex de Minaur in the semi-finals.

As Djokovic, who has won the French Open three times, is no longer in the running, and Rafael Nadal, who holds a record 14 wins, has been knocked out in the first round, the winner of the French Open men’s tournament on Sunday will be a first-time holder of the trophy.

Among the remaining competitors are Jannik Sinner, the No.2 seed, a 22-year-old Italian who secured a spot in the semifinals by defeating No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday. As a result, Sinner will take over the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings next week, replacing Djokovic.

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In January, Sinner achieved victory at the Australian Open, making him the first male player from his nation to reach the top ranking.

As Sinner’s match against Dimitrov was still ongoing, word of Djokovic’s withdrawal began to circulate. Therefore, Sinner was unaware of the situation until he was questioned about it during a post-match interview.

Sinner expressed his disappointment for Novak’s injury and wished him a quick recovery.

What about his recently acquired position?

Sinner expressed his gratitude, saying, “It holds great significance to me, no doubt.” He is set to continue his thrilling competition with No. 3 player Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals on Friday.

For the second consecutive year, Alcaraz made it to the semi-finals in Paris, but unfortunately suffered from cramps and lost to Djokovic in 2023. However, on Tuesday night, he secured a spot in the final four by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas, the number 9 seed, with a score of 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Sinner and Alcaraz have faced each other on eight occasions, with a tie of 4-4. They have also met twice at major tournaments, with an even record of 1-1.

“It’s quite a tough task. I won’t deny it. Currently, he’s considered the top player globally, or at least the one with the most impressive tennis performance,” stated Alcaraz. “This is the game that everyone is eagerly anticipating.”

During a period where Djokovic has a record of 18-6 and has not been able to make it to the final of any tournament, let alone win one, it was crucial for him to return to the championship match at the French Open in order to further his record for the most weeks as the No. 1 player.

The trio of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer have been the dominant forces in men’s tennis for a long time, collectively winning 66 major titles. However, Federer, who has now retired at the age of 42, is no longer a part of the equation. Meanwhile, Nadal, who just turned 38, is contemplating his future in the sport after facing injuries and being absent for a significant portion of the last 18 months.

The duration of Djokovic’s absence and its potential impact on his future remain uncertain, as the 37-year-old’s return date is still unknown.

The prestigious Wimbledon tournament, where the player has achieved seven victories, is scheduled to begin on July 1. Similarly, the tennis event at the Paris Olympics will commence at Roland Garros on July 27.

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