No. 1 Endures Bad Loss, Boos After Blow to Head

Novak Djokovic expresses concern after falling out of Italian Open in just over an hour
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 10, 2024 4:20 PM CDT
Updated May 12, 2024 12:30 PM CDT
Water Bottle Injures Djokovic After Victory
Novak Djokovic, left, talks with Corentin Moutet after their match Friday at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
UPDATE May 12, 2024 10:30 AM CDT

Novak Djokovic made light of his bizarre injury—suffered when a fan's metal water bottle hit him in the head on Friday—by wearing a bicycle helmet to practice the next day, per But in his first match since the accident, the top-ranked player suffered his worst loss ever at the Italian Open, the AP reports. Djokovic was eliminated on Sunday by 29th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo 6-2, 6-3 in just 68 minutes. The match began and ended with Djokovic double-faults, and fans in Rome booed at the last one. Djokovic said afterward that he's had headaches since being hit but slept all right. "Maybe it is OK. Maybe it's not," he said. "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."

May 10, 2024 4:20 PM CDT

Novak Djokovic needed medical attention after getting knocked on the head by a water bottle after a win at the Italian Open on Friday. A child was leaning over the railing to hand Djokovic a notebook for a signature when an aluminum-type water bottle fell out of the child's backpack and hit the top-ranked player on the top of his head, local organizers said. After getting hit, Djokovic placed both of his hands on top of his head and then curled up on the ground as a security guard shielded him. Then he was helped down the tunnel into the locker room.

Djokovic had a bump on his head and was being checked by doctors, organizers said. He did not hold his usual post-match news conference. The incident happened shortly after Djokovic's 6-3, 6-1 win over French qualifier Corentin Moutet in his opening match in Rome. The 24-time Grand Slam champion was returning to play after nearly a month off. Djokovic is preparing to defend his title at the French Open, which starts May 26.

(More Novak Djokovic stories.)

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