Home Sport John McEnroe blasts 'joke' French Open and calls for major tournament change

John McEnroe blasts 'joke' French Open and calls for major tournament change


John McEnroe has torn into French Open organisers for allowing Novak Djokovic’s third-round match to run into the small hours of Sunday morning. The seven-time Grand Slam champion is adamant the late-night ordeal will have had an effect on Djokovic’s body, which gave way before his slated quarter-final against Casper Ruud.

The Serb was forced to pull out of the match after suffering a medial meniscus tear in his fourth win over Francisco Cerundolo. Djokovic required five sets to get past the Argentine, less than two days after going five sets with Lorenzo Musetti in a match which dragged on until 3:06am.

Djokovic’s crippling injury setback forced him to undergo surgery in Paris this week, and he is now a major doubt for Wimbledon. McEnroe feels that the veteran’s ordeal should serve as a wake-up call and finally convince Grand Slam chiefs to change their fixture rules.

“It was horrible, it was a joke,” the American told discovery+. “It’s a black eye for our sport. It doesn’t shine too good a light on the schedule, which was a joke that they put him out at 10.30pm on Saturday.

“He’d talked about the knee issue before the tournament. That couldn’t have helped. And it goes to three in the morning – absurd! If this doesn’t change the mentality of the Majors about this type of scheduling, I don’t know what will. He’s the No.1 player in the world.

“An all-time great, maybe the greatest. He got hurt and that contributed to it. Having to play to three in the morning, you cannot say that didn’t have an effect on his body, his system, his recovery.

“I don’t know why they’ll listen to me now – they haven’t listened for the past 45 years! What I say is what I believe is best for the sport. This needs to change.”

Djokovic would be a huge miss for tournament organisers if he is unable to compete at Wimbledon in July. The 37-year-old has won a staggering seven titles at the All England Club and would have been all out to avenge his defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in last year’s final.

Djokovic’s return date is currently unknown, but McEnroe claims the worst case scenario would see the 24-time Grand Slam champion sidelined for up to two months. “I had a couple of meniscus tears recently,” he explained. “I didn’t have surgery. It depends on the severity. It could be two to three weeks or seven to eight weeks out.

“We are all hoping that Novak plays and is ready to go. It would be a shame if this has exacerbated an already bad situation by him having to withdraw from Wimbledon.”

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