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Djokovic To Undergo Extra Medical Tests After Italian Open Defeat, Cites Feeling 'Different' After Bottle Injury

Novak Djokovic's unexpected defeat in the Italian Open's third round has stirred concerns after he suffered a head injury from a falling water bottle, prompting additional medical examinations. This setback casts uncertainty over his upcoming performance at Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic Photo: Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic expressed concern and said he will undergo additional medical examinations after being eliminated in the third round of the Italian Open. This announcement came in relation to an incident where he was struck by a water bottle post winning the previous round.

While signing autographs after his second-round victory over Corentin Moutet, a metal bottle fell out of a fan's backpack and hit Djokovic directly on the head. Initially experiencing bleeding and nausea, Djokovic reported feeling well on Saturday during his return to training, even humorously donning a helmet during practice. However, on Sunday, he noted feeling like a "different player" as he suffered a 6-2, 6-3 defeat to Chile's Alejandro Tabilo, the 29th seed.

Novak Djokovic was struck by a water bottle on his head after his second-round victory. Photo: Internazionali BNL d’italia
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“It was unexpected obviously,” Djokovic recalled. “I wasn’t even looking up. Then I felt a very strong hit in the head. That has 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 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. 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.”

Tabilo arrived in Rome with a strong sense of confidence after securing victory in an ATP Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence, which propelled him to a new career-best ranking of No. 32. Nonetheless, Sunday's victory marked the most significant win of his life. Despite facing his own challenges, Djokovic praised the 26-year-old's performance.

“I was trying not to think about it, trying to keep it point by point. And no, I can’t believe it, it’s crazy,” Tabilo remarked.

A skilled left-handed player known for his powerful serve and forehand, Tabilo approached the match against the world No. 1 with determination to seize control early on with his forehand strokes, aiming to dictate the rhythm of the exchanges and keep Djokovic on the defensive. It became evident early in the match that Djokovic offered minimal resistance. Djokovic conceded his opening service game with two double faults, including one on break point. As Tabilo grew more comfortable dictating play, Djokovic struggled noticeably.

Alejandro Tabilo Photo: Getty Images
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In addition to his passive approach and unforced errors, Djokovic displayed a lack of emotional intensity and appeared hurried between points, seemingly eager to conclude the match swiftly. His tournament ended on a sour note with a disappointing double fault off a 115mph second serve. Djokovic later revealed that he had not undergone any medical evaluations on his day off, but with two weeks until Roland Garros, he intends to do so now.

“I have to check that,” Djokovic stated. “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.”

A year following Djokovic's remarkable 2023 season, where he secured victories in the Australian Open, French Open, US Open, and ATP Finals, this season has been rather unusual. With this defeat, Djokovic, who turns 37 this month, will enter the French Open without a title in the season for the first time since 2018 and only the second time since his first title win in 2006.

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