Djokovic to travel to Wimbledon but unsure on playing

Novak Djokovic celebrates a point in the Wimbledon final in 2023
Novak Djokovic has reached the Wimbledon final at the past five editions of the tournament, losing just once [Getty Images]

Novak Djokovic has decided to travel to Wimbledon and is due to arrive on Monday - but the seven-time champion does not yet know if he will be able to compete after undergoing knee surgery.

Serbia's Djokovic withdrew from the French Open after his fourth-round victory over Francisco Cerundolo, in which he tore the medial meniscus in his right knee.

The 37-year-old had surgery in Paris just 17 days ago, but wants to give himself the best possible chance of playing by practising at the All England Club.

Wimbledon, which starts on 1 July, seemed a long shot at the time, and his hopes of returning to Paris to try and win a first Olympic gold medal also appeared in the balance.

But since then Djokovic has posted two upbeat videos on Instagram.

The first showed him using an exercise bike and leg weight machine in the gym, and the second - posted on Thursday - followed him running, doing lunges and hitting a tentative serve.

“We keep building day by day,” was the message to his 14.6 million followers.

Djokovic has reached the final at Wimbledon for the past five years and lost last year’s showpiece to Carlos Alcaraz in a memorable five-set match on Centre Court.

He did not rule out playing at Wimbledon in a social media post after the operation, writing: “My love for this sport is strong and the desire to compete at the highest level is what keeps me going.

"I’m going to do my best to be healthy and fit to return to the court as soon as possible."

Three years ago, Taylor Fritz was able to reach the third round at Wimbledon after a similar operation on his right knee during the French Open.

The American was taken off court in a wheelchair at Roland Garros after damaging his right meniscus when match point down in the second round against Dominik Koepfer.

But at SW19 just a month later, he was able to beat Brandon Nakashima over four sets and Steve Johnson over five, before losing to Alexander Zverev.

That had not escaped Djokovic’s attention, and Fritz revealed at Queen’s Club earlier this week that the 24-time Grand Slam champion had been in touch.

“I told him what it was like for me. A lot of it comes down to the inflammation and how you react,” he told reporters.

"When I did it, I couldn't even walk. People are different. 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 going to be fine to play."

Being able to win seven five-set matches in a fortnight may be beyond even Djokovic, but a rapid recovery means he will at least be in London to see whether a 19th appearance at the championships is realistic.

The tennis competition at the Paris Olympics begins on 27 July, just 13 days after Wimbledon finishes.