Novak Djokovic’s wait for first title of 2024 continues as he struggles with illness in surprise loss at Geneva Open

Novak Djokovic’s wait for his first title of 2024 continued after he lost in the semifinals of the Geneva Open on Friday, the warmup tournament to the French Open which begins on Sunday.

The Serbian said he struggled with a stomach issue as he lost in three sets 6-4 0-6 6-1 to world No. 44 Tomas Machac.

The 24-time grand slam champion called the doctor onto the court during a medical timeout at the end of the first set. TV cameras showed the world No.1 looking out of sorts throughout the match, with his hand visibly shaking as he drank from a bottle during a break.

Afterwards, Djokovic admitted that he had a “terrible feeling with stomach and health today … it was not a great night and today as well.”

The 37-year-old, who has not reached a final this year, also said that he was “of course” worried about his form heading into the second grand slam of the year.

“I haven’t been playing good at all this year,” Djokovic told reporters when asked about his title defense at Roland Garros.

“[I’ve had] some [good] matches here and there but it is what it is. You have to accept it. I don’t consider myself a favorite there. I’m going to take it match by match and see how far I can go.”

Djokovic added: “I want to forget about [this match] and move on to Paris.”

Djokovic returns a ball to Machac during the Geneva Open semifinal. - Martial Trezzini/Keystone/AP
Djokovic returns a ball to Machac during the Geneva Open semifinal. - Martial Trezzini/Keystone/AP

Having called the doctor onto the court at the end of the first set, Djokovic seemed to find a second wind, winning the second set without dropping a game.

But he faded in the deciding third set, with Machac winning the last six games in a row.

Despite the end result, getting back on court and trying to find some rhythm was the achievement, according to Djokovic.

“It was good that I could come here and play more than one match. I played three,” he said. “I just need to feel better. It’s not enjoyment when you are suffering on the court feeling this way. You’re not able to focus on tennis when you have other stuff happening. I just hope I can be fit and ready and prepared for Roland Garros.”

He now has a 14-6 record in 2024 and will begin his 20th French Open campaign against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

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