Tabilo disrupts Djokovic's French Open preparations with shock win in Rome

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic suffered a setback to the preparations for the defence of his French Open title on Sunday when he lost in straight sets in the third round to the 29th seed Alejandro Tabilo at the Italian Open in Rome.

Tabilo breezed past the six-time winner 6-2, 6-3 and in the last-16 will play the 16th seed Karen Khachanov who advanced after his 6-2, 6-4 sweep past Francisco Cerundolo.

During his 67-minute clash, Tabilo unleashed 22 winners past Djokovic who managed to land only 48 percent of his first serves during the opening set.

“I’m trying to soak it all in and wake up right now,” Tabilo said. “I was just trying to keep my nerves and keep swinging. Towards the end my arms were getting tired but I was trying not to think about it.

“It’s crazy, I just can’t believe what’s happened. I can’t believe it right now. I don’t think anyone can believe it.”

Following his second round match on Friday, Djokovic collapsed to the floor after a water bottle slipped out of a rucksack and hit him on the head while he was signing autographs.

Recovery

“I was going for kind of easy training on Saturday," said Djokovic. "I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.

“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 two nights ago ... I don’t know. I have to do medical check-ups and see what’s going on.”

Djokovic is still without a title this year — the first time he has reached May without a trophy since 2018 when he was returning from an injury to his right elbow.

On Saturday, former world number one Rafael Nadal lost his second round match against the ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz.


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