Home Sport Novak Djokovic 'needs medical tests' after Italian Open loss as Serb 'concerned'

Novak Djokovic 'needs medical tests' after Italian Open loss as Serb 'concerned'

Novak Djokovic is planning to undergo medical checks after a surprise thrashing at the Italian Open. The world No.1 was battered 6-2, 6-3 by Alejandro Tabilo in only his second match in Rome on Sunday. The third-round defeat in the Masters 1000 tournament comes just days after an unusual incident in which Djokovic was struck on the head by a fan’s water bottle.

The Serb collapsed to the floor in pain after a bottle accidentally fell from a spectator’s bag while he was signing autographs and hit the top of his head. Tournament organisers later confirmed “his condition is not a cause for concern”.

And in a statement, Djokovic said: “Thank you for the messages of concern. This was an accident and I am fine resting at the hotel with an ice pack. See you all on Sunday.”

But Chile’s Tabilo hammered Djokovic on Centre Court. And the 36-year-old, clearly worried in his post-match press conference, said: “I don’t know, to be honest [if the bottle incident affected him]. I have to check that. Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.

“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.

“Could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. I didn’t do any scans or any tests. Right now, I feel like I should do it, so… I will do it and let’s see. Let’s see what’s happening.”

Asked further about the incident in the aftermath of his loss, Djokovic admitted he is “concerned”. The 24-time Grand Slam champion added, just a week out from the start of the French Open: “It was a very unfortunate, unlucky situation for me.

“It was an accident where that guy leaned over the fence, and the bottle dropped from his rucksack and landed directly on my head. It was unexpected obviously.

“I wasn’t even looking up. Then I felt a very strong hit in the head. That has, yeah, really impacted me a lot. After that I got the medical care. Been through half an hour, an hour of nausea, dizziness, blood, a lot of different things.

“I managed to sleep okay. I had headaches. The next day or yesterday was pretty fine, so I thought it’s okay. Maybe it is okay. Maybe it’s not. I mean, 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 Serb has still yet to play in the final of any of his tournaments in 2024. He lost to Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semis and fell to then-world No.123 Luca Nardi in his second match in Indian Wells.

Though he reached the final four of the Monte-Carlo Masters, he was beaten by Casper Ruud. And his defeat to Tabilo was his last match in preparation for Roland Garros where he is bidding to defend his crown.

It has been an off-colour year so far for a man with 98 career titles and 24 majors. By this time in 2023, he had won the Adelaide International and Australian Open. That said, he did lose early in Banja Luka and Rome and went on to win the clay-court Grand Slam in Paris regardless.

Asked what his mindset will be for the French Open, a smiling Djokovic said: “Same like always. Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it.

“Congratulations to my opponent [Tabilo]. It’s the first time I faced him. Great player. Really quality player. All-around game. Yeah, I just wasn’t able to find any kind of good feelings on the court, to be honest, with striking the ball. Yeah, I was completely off.”


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