Tennis: Top seed Novak Djokovic overcomes injury scare to reach French Open quarter-finals over Argentine Francisco Cerundolo

Novak Djokovic has sparked concerns about his injured knee for the rest of his French Open title defence, after he briefly considered pulling out midway through his five-sets win over Argentine Francisco Cerundolo.

The Serb had to dig deep for a second straight match, after a third-round marathon against Lorenzo Musetti, and needed medication during a 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 win over Cerundolo that sent him to the quarter-finals after four hours and 39 minutes.

Djokovic, 37, says he has experienced slight discomfort in his right knee for a couple of weeks, and the issue flared up as soon as he slipped and tweaked it during the third game of the second set.

Novak Djokovic flexes his injured knee.
Novak Djokovic flexes his injured knee. Photo credit: Getty Images

"At one point, I didn't know whether I should continue or not with what's happening," he said. "I got the medications and then, after the third set was done, I asked for more medications and got them.

"That was the maximum dose that kicked in... after 30-45 minutes, which was about the time at the end of the fourth set, when things started to really improve for me. I started to feel less limitations in my movement.

"The whole fifth set was almost without any pain, which is great, but the effect of the medications will not last for too long, so I'll see. We'll do some more screening and tests and check-ups tomorrow, as well.

"We've done some with the doctor now. Some positive news, but also some concerns, so let's see tomorrow.

"I can't tell you more about it at the moment. I'm glad I was able to play fifth set... without feeling pain I felt for two-and-a-half sets, but you never know what will happen tomorrow."

Djokovic, who also took a tumble late in the contest, says drier conditions after a week of rain have affected the clay.

"The injury that I had today with the knee happened exactly because of that, because I slipped and slid a lot," he added. "Everyone slides on clay, but I slipped way too many times.

"That is quite unusual. I do, because I have an aggressive kind of movement, dynamic change of directions... it's normal for me.

"I've slipped and fallen on the clay many times in my life, and on grass as well, but this was just too many times today."

Novak Djokovic takes a tumble during his French Open fourth-round match.
Novak Djokovic takes a tumble during his French Open fourth-round match. Photo credit: Getty Images

Djokovic says his team are having a conversation with tournament officials about why his requests to have the courts swept more frequently are being denied.

Up next for him is seventh seed Casper Ruud in a rematch of last year's final.

"Today, I injured myself... I survived... I won the match, great, but will I be able to play next one?" he said. "I don't know.

"I don't know the severity of the injury, but could have this injury be prevented? Possibly, if there was just a little bit more of frequent care of the court during the set."