Novak Djokovic suffers quickest loss of his clay court career after Tabilo thumping

Sunday, 12 May 2024 at 20:30
The surprising defeat of Novak Djokovic at the Rome Open was his fastest ever clay court loss. The 6-times champion was eliminated in the third round of the tournament by Alejandro Tabilo (29th seed), who dispatched him 6-2, 6-3 in just one hour and 7 minutes.
Never before had Djokovic lost a clay court match in such a short time, excluding retirements. The closest record occurred in the semifinals of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters against Roger Federer. On that occasion, Djokovic was world No. 2 and had been dealing with wrist problems throughout the week, so Federer comfortably secured his spot in the final with a 7-5, 6-2 victory in one hour and 15 minutes.

Unexpected result for Djokovic

The 24-times Grand Slam champion once again suffers a painful defeat in the season and just before his participation in the French Open. In 2024, he has a record of 12-5, still without titles and outside the top-10 in the ATP Race to Turin, well below the expectations of the Serbian.
Djokovic suffered a blow from a bottle to his head a couple of days earlier as he left the stadium after defeating Corentin Moutet in the first round. The Serbian acknowledged that he played very differently against Tabilo compared to the previous round and that he will undergo medical checks for the head injury.
Despite that, the world No. 1 did not hesitate to congratulate his opponent Tabilo, whom he faced for the first time on the Tour: "Congratulations to my opponent," Djokovic said. "It's the first time I faced him. Great player. Really quality player. All-around game," he added.

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