Novak Djokovic thinks water bottle incident may have played role in surprising loss

Novak Djokovic suffered an unfortunate injury after winning his second-round match at the Italian Open this week, and he believes the incident may have negatively impacted him on Sunday.

Djokovic defeated qualifier Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-1 in his second-round match in Rome on Friday. After the match, Djokovic stopped on his way into the locker room tunnel to sign autographs. While he was standing to sign autographs, he was hit in the head by a metal water bottle.

A video showed that the water bottle fell out of a fan’s backpack and accidentally landed on Djokovic. Though Djokovic was clearly in pain and left bleeding from the head, he later posted a message on social media saying he was “fine.”

Djokovic then fell victim to an upset on Sunday. The world’s No. 1 lost 2-6, 3-6, to Alejandro Tabilo, who is the No. 32-ranked player in the world. After the match, Djokovic was asked if the water bottle incident was a factor in his loss. He did not rule it out.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that. 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,” Djokovic said. “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.”

Djokovic called the incident an “unlucky situation” and and admitted he experienced headaches on Friday night. He said he felt “pretty fine” on Saturday, so he thought he would have no issues in his match against Tabilo.

The 36-year-old Djokovic will now prepare for the French Open after his unexpected early exit in Rome. He is looking to build upon his record of 24 major championships.