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Novak Djokovic drops ‘concerning’ loss in straight sets two days after water bottle impact left him with ‘nausea and dizziness’

Two days after a water bottle fell on his head, Novak Djokovic suffered a straight-sets loss at the Italian Open and said afterwards that he feels like a “different player”.

World No. 29 Alejandro Tabilo recorded a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Djokovic on Sunday, forcing the world No. 1 player into an early exit in the round of 32 and stunning the crowd in Rome.

After the loss, Djokovic told reporters he was still feeling the effects of the water bottle impact, which he said caused “nausea, dizziness and blood” in the immediate aftermath.

“It was obviously unexpected,” Djokovic said on Sunday. “I didn’t even look up. Then I felt a really hard blow on my head. That really had a big impact on me. …

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“I had nausea for half an hour, an hour, dizziness and blood and a lot of different things. I was able to sleep well. I had a headache. The next day (or yesterday) I was doing pretty well. So I thought: you You know, it’s okay.”

He then described his condition as ‘worrisome’ and said he felt like a different player on the pitch on Sunday afternoon.

“Maybe it’s okay,” Djokovic continued. “Maybe that’s not the case. The way I felt on the pitch today was just completely… it’s like another player stepped into my shoes. No rhythm, no pace, no balance on any shot Also. So it’s a bit concerning.”

The water bottle incident took place on Friday when Djokovic left the court after his 6-3, 6-1 win over Corentin Moutet. He stopped at the tunnel to sign autographs for fans, and a water bottle fell from the stands onto the top of his head.

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Another angle showed the bottle slipping out of a fan’s backpack as he leaned over looking for Djokovic’s attention.

Djokovic grabbed his head and knelt on the court after the impact. He was then helped through the tunnel and back to the locker room. He later tweeted that he was doing “fine” and was resting at his hotel with an ice pack.

On Saturday, he appeared cheerfully at the tournament on his day off, jokingly wearing a bicycle helmet as he greeted fans and signed autographs.

His concern took on a different tone after Sunday’s defeat. He now has two weeks off before the start of the French Open main draw on May 26, looking for his 25th Grand Slam title.

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