Novak Djokovic Seeks Redemption After Shock Rome Defeat to Alejandro Tabilo

Novak Djokovic

World number one Novak Djokovic faced another early exit on clay, losing in straight sets to Alejandro Tabilo in the Italian Open. Djokovic, who fell 6-2, 6-3 to the 29th seed from Chile, expressed his frustration, stating he “wasn’t able to find any kind of good feelings on court” during his third-round match in Rome’s Foro Italico.

The Serbian tennis icon’s disappointing performance followed an unusual incident during his opener, where he was struck on the head by a falling water bottle from a spectator’s rucksack. Djokovic admitted the impact could have affected his game and mentioned he would undergo medical checks.

Reflecting on the incident, Djokovic shared, “It was unexpected, obviously. I wasn’t even looking up and then I felt this very strong hit on the head that has really impacted me a lot. We went through half an hour, an hour, of nausea and dizziness and blood and different things. But I managed to sleep OK, you know. I had headaches but the next day or yesterday it was pretty fine. I thought it was OK… maybe it is OK, maybe it’s not. I mean, the way I felt on the court today was just completely… like a different player within my shoes, you know. Just no rhythm, no tempo, no balance whatsoever on any shots at all, no co-ordination… It’s a bit concerning. I guess medical check-ups will see what’s going on.”

Regardless of the concussion’s impact, Djokovic acknowledged the need for improvement if he aims to compete for a fourth French Open crown. He hasn’t made it past the last four in any of the three tournaments following his Australian Open semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner.

Asked about his preparations for Roland Garros, Djokovic emphasized, “Well, everything. Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win.”

Novak Djokovic at The Paris Masters

Novak Djokovic at The Paris Masters

Turning 37 next week, Djokovic eyes Olympic gold as the only major accolade missing from his illustrious career. The Paris 2024 tournament, set on the red clay of Roland Garros, represents his final opportunity to seize that prize.

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