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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday May 11, 2024

Novak Djokovic was bounced out of the Rome draw on Sunday by Alejandro Tabilo, suffering his earliest ever exit at the Foro Italico in 18 appearances, but the 24-time major champion has bigger concerns as he deals with the aftermath of the scary incident that occurred on Friday night, when he was thumped on the top of his head by a fans metal water bottle.

After Sunday’s 6-2, 6-3 loss to Tabilo, Djokovic said that he felt off balance and lethargic in the contest.

“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,” he said. “It's a bit concerning.”

Rome Shock: Tabilo Takes Out Listless Djokovic

Djokovic said that the injury has “really impacted me a lot” and told reporters that he experienced dizziness and nausea.

He hoped he’d be okay after a day of rest but he clearly was not able to play anywhere close to his peak level on Sunday.

“After I got medical care [I went] through half an hour, an hour of nausea, dizziness, blood, a lot of different things,” Djokovic said. “I managed to sleep okay. I had headaches. Yesterday was pretty fine, so I thought it's okay.

“Maybe it is okay. Maybe it's not.”

Tennis Express

Djokovic said that he didn’t do any scans to see if anything was wrong, but now that he has felt bad for a few days, he plans to do that.

He says he felt off from the start against Tabilo, and things didn’t improve.

“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,” he said, adding that he is planning to do some tests with doctors in the upcoming days.

“I didn't do any scans or any tests. Right now, I feel like I should do it, so… I will do it and let's see. Let's see what's happening,” he said.

The concerns come at a tough time for Djokovic, who was hoping to use Rome as a springboard to peak form on the clay. A six-time champion at the Foro Italico, Djokovic has frequently taken his game higher at Rome, but it didn’t happen this year.

Of his chances of winning a fourth Roland-Garros title later this spring, Djokovic said: “Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it.”

Djokovic drops to 12-5 on the season and 68-12 lifetime in Rome – he has yet to reach a final in 2024 and he stands one victory shy of the 1,100 win mark, at 1099-218.