Novak Djokovic in bizarre crowd moment amid staggering defeat

The World No.1 lost grip of his racquet in bizarre scenes.

Novak Djokovic reacts during a match and Djokovic picking up his racquet.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) accidentally launched his racquet into the crowd during his shock defeat to (Images: Getty Images/Twitter)

Novak Djokovic was involved in a bizarre moment during his shock defeat to Dusan Lajovic when he launched his racquet into the crowd after a mishit. Djokovic has been struggling since the start to the clay court season having been eliminated early in Monte Carlo, before his latest defeat to Lajovic 6-4, 7-6.

The World No.1 struggled against French qualifier Luca Van Assche in the first round, before his latest straight sets loss to Lajovic at the Srpska Open. And as Djokovic was losing grip of the match, he also lost grip of his racquet.

FIESTY: Medvedev takes swipe at rival after Monte Carlo handshake incident

'SHAMEFUL': Tennis world outraged over WTA Tour's backflip over China

In the first set, Djokovic was racing across the baseline when he lunged for a ball. The 35-year-old was outstretched when he lost grip of his racquet, which was launched into the crowd.

Djokovic was clearly frustrated to have lost the point, but waited patiently as one fan celebrated after catching the 22-time grand slam champion's racquet. However, the bizarre moment was the least of his worries as Djokovic only converted one of 16 break points in an uncharacteristic display.

Djokovic wasn't able to convert three-set points in the second set as Lajovic stormed back from 6-3 down to win five straight points to cement the victory. Djokovic hasn't lost to a fellow Serbian since 2012.

Following the match, Djokvoic was gracious in defeat and praised his compatriot for his performance. “Dusan is a fantastic person, great guy,” Djokovic in his post-match interview.

“Someone I’ve known for a very long time, since he started playing professional tennis. So many times on the Davis Cup team together, trained together. I’m happy for him, to be honest.

"I know this is an important win for him considering the last 12 months that he’s been through, it’s not been easy for him. He’s playing well and he deserved to win today.”

Novak Djokovic waves goodbye to the fans.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) suffered a shock defeat at the Srpska Open. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images) (Srdjan Stevanovic via Getty Images)

And Lajovic shared Djokovic's joy after securing the biggest moment of his career. “I'm overwhelmed, it is the biggest win of my career,” the Serbian said during his on-court interview.

“The emotions are very mixed because I'm playing here in front of the home town and I'm also playing against Nole who is a good friend and he's a hero of our country. Beating him, it's something that I didn't even think is going to be possible, but it happened.”

After the loss, fans were left staggered at Djokovic's level since his return from the Dubai Tennis Championship. Djokovic has a 2-2 record on clay to start the 2023 season. His form, along with his admission he is struggling with an elbow injury, has sparked concern leading into Roland Garros.

Novak Djokovic's worrying elbow injury

Djokovic entered the Srpska Open under an injury cloud after admitting he was struggling with a persistent elbow injury following his loss to Lorenzo Musetti in Monte Carlo. "My elbow is not in an ideal shape but good enough to be ready for the first match," Djokovic told reporters ahead of the tournament.

"One of the good things in tennis is that you get new opportunity to prove your worth every week and take a step forward. I've turned over a new leaf."

However, he appeared to squash any doubt in his first round victory. But more questions will be asked now after Djokovic was felled in the more than two hour battle.

Djokovic is now set to take part in the Madrid Open ahead of his quest for a 23rd grand slam.

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.