Novak Djokovic suffers shock loss to Alejandro Tabilo in Rome following head injury

ROME, Italy—Novak Djokovic suffered a shock defeat in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Sunday, losing to Alejandro Tabilo, 6-2, 6-3.

“I just wasn’t able to find any kind of good feelings on the court, to be honest, with striking the ball,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference. “Yeah, I was completely off.”

Playing his first match since suffering a bizarre head injury on the conclusion of his opening-round victory over Corentin Moutet, the world No. 1 was overwhelmed by the No. 29 seed in one hour and seven minutes on Campo Centrale. For Tabilo, it is the biggest win of his career in his first attempt at a Top 5 player.

“It’s incredible,” Tabilo said on court. “I came on court, just looking around and trying to soak it all in, trying to process everything. Now, I just can’t believe. I’m trying to wake up right now!”

Doubts initially swirled whether Djokovic would be able to compete after getting hit by a falling water bottle while signing autographs on Friday evening. The top seed was escorted off court by security and was excused from his post-match press conference, later updating fans on social media of his condition.

“Thank you for the messages of concern,” Djokovic posted on Twitter/X following the incident. “This was an accident and I am fine resting at the hotel with an ice pack. See you all on Sunday. #IBI24”

In fact, Djokovic seemed to take the injury in stride when he arived to practice on Saturday wearing a bicycle hemet, which he affixed atop his cap to sign autographs after practice.

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