Novak Djokovic Felt Water Bottle Incident Impacted Him During Italian Open Loss

Novak Djokovic walks off the court after a loss at the Italian Open.
Novak Djokovic walks off the court after a loss at the Italian Open. / Tennis Channel/Screengrab

Novak Djokovic was upset in 68 minutes by Chilean Alejandro Tabilo in the Round of 32 of the Italian Open on Sunday.

Djokovic admitted after the unexpected loss that he wasn't feeling himself during the match, and he blamed a lot of that on the incident on Friday when a fan accidentally dropped a water bottle on his head. The hit brought Djokovic to the ground, and it impacted him more than he realized.

He plans to get scans done to make sure further damage wasn't caused.

"That has really impacted me a lot," Djokovic said on Sunday. "After that I got medical care, been through half-an-hour, an hour of nausea, dizziness and blood. I managed to sleep O.K. I had headaches. The next day, or yesterday, was pretty fine, so I thought it's O.K. Maybe it is O.K., maybe it's not."

Regardless of what impacted his performance, Djokovic felt out of "rhythm" on the court on Sunday during his 6–2, 6–3 loss to the 29th-seeded player.

"The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes," Djokovic said. "Just no rhythm, no tempo, no balance whatsoever on any shot. It's a bit concerning."

This was Djokovic's last tournament before the French Open, which begins next Monday, May 20. He's going into the event feeling less than confident after Sunday, so it may not be the easiest road for him on the way to his potential 25th Grand Slam title.

"Everything needs to be better for me to have at least a chance to win it," Djokovic said.

Madison Williams


Madison Williams is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where she has covered the entire sports landscape since 2022. She specializes in tennis, but covers a wide range of sports from a national perspective. Before joining Sports Illustrated, Madison worked with The Sporting News. She hails from Augustana College and completed a Master’s in Sports Media at Northwestern University. Madison is a dog mom and an avid reader.