Novak Djokovic's happy social media post belies grim reality

There has been a lot of rumors around Djokovic's knee injury, but his recent post does not clear things up.
Novak Djokovic at the French Open
Novak Djokovic at the French Open / Tim Clayton - Corbis/GettyImages

Novak Djokovic has been injured for weeks. Or he hasn't, and he hurt his knee during his French Open run. There has been no real clarity about when he was hurt. To be fair, does it matter? The important bit for tennis fans to know is that Djokovic tore his meniscus and that required surgery.

The positive sign may be that since he had surgery in Paris extremely soon after the last match he played at Roland Garros might imply he feels his recovery could be a quick one. No one knows how soon he will return - injuries, of course, do not give timelines on when they will be all better - but getting back as soon as Wimbledon seems out.

A normal recovery period for a torn meniscus is between four to eight weeks. For a tennis player, though, it isn't simply a matter of getting back on the court and playing immediately at a high level. One has to work their way back a bit more slowly. Wimbledon begins on July 1 so Djokovic playing there is quite unlikely.

Novak Djokovic very likely will miss Wimbledon and beyond

The 2024 Summer Olympics begin in late July so there is a better chance Djokovic has of getting back for the games if that is what he wants to do. He might prefer to not return until August when the hard-court season gets back underway in the United States. He could come back to play at the Western and Southern Open in mid-August. The US Open begins on August 26.

On Thursday, Novak Djokovic posted on social media a photo of him on crutches surrounded by others, all of whom are smiling. The post is a hopeful one, and that is how it should be. The situation is dour enough without a bunch of photos of Djokovic frowning.

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The reality is that Djokovic is going to start 2024 without winning a Grand Slam event and losing his No. 1 ranking. The last time he did not win a major during a calendar year was 2017. Other than 2017, the last time Djokovic did not win at least one of the first three Grand Slams was 2010.

If and when he does return, he is not going to be in the same kind of form right away that we are used to, and he certainly won't be in the form of Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, and others. We might have watched Novak Djokovic win his final Grand Slam title when he won the 2023 US Open.

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