Novak Djokovic in 'concerning' admission about bottle incident after tennis defeat in Rome

The World No.1 was well below his best in his straight sets loss to Alejandro Tabilo at the Italian Open.

After crashing out of the Italian Open, World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he his performance was greatly hampered by the after-effects of being cracked on the head by a bottle. On Friday, the Serb was involved in a freak accident while signing autographs following his second-round win over Corentin Moutet.

The tennis ace was hit in the head by a bottle as he signed autographs and interacted with fans after his second-round win over France’s Corentin Moutet. Djokovic was treated after the match and told fans he was okay but days later against Alejandro Tabilo, he looked a shell of himself.

Pictured Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic says he was hampered in his Italian Open loss by the after-effects of being hit on the head by a bottle on Friday. Image: Getty

The World No.1 struggled to find any sort of rhythm against Tabilo on Sunday, with the Chilean trouncing him at the Italian Open in just 67 minutes. After the match, Djokovic blamed Friday's incident for his 6-2 6-3 loss.

"That has really impacted me a lot. After that, I got medical care, (and went) through half-an-hour (to) an hour of nausea, dizziness and blood," said Djokovic. The Serb initially made light of the incident when he jokingly wore a bicycle helmet to training on Saturday but after Sunday's performance, he says he will get further scans.


"I managed to sleep OK, I had headaches. The next day, or yesterday, was pretty fine, so I thought it's OK. Maybe it is OK, maybe it's not," he added. "The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, no balance whatsoever on any shot. It's a bit concerning."

The loss means the six-time Italian Open champion has failed to reach at least the quarter-finals in Rome for the first time since 2006. The defeat continues a disjointed preparation ahead of his French Open title defence that kicks off on May 26, with the World No.1 still yet to reach a final in 2024 and he has only played six matches on clay this year.

Novak Djokovic required medical treatment after being struck in the head by a water bottle. Image: X/Getty
Novak Djokovic required medical treatment after being struck in the head by a water bottle after his second round victory. Image: X/Getty

Tabilo's victory made him the first Chilean in 17 years to beat a World No.1 since Fernando Gonzalez beat Roger Federer at the ATP Finals in 2007. The 26-year-old was dominant throughout, breaking Djokovic's serve four times and he also didn't face a single break point.

"It's incredible. I came on court just looking around and soaking it all in, trying to process everything. I'm trying to wake up right now," said Tabilo. "I was just trying to keep my nerves and keep swinging. Every time you feel like you are close to the end your arms get a little tighter. I was just trying not to think about it and take it point by point. It's crazy, I can't believe what's happened." Tabilo will play Karen Khachanov in the next round after the Russian 16th seed beat Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo 6-2 6-4.

with AAP