Djokovic follows Nadal with early exit at Italian Open with 6-2, 6-3 loss to Tabilo

ROME, May 12: Novak Djokovic put on one of his worst performances at one of his favorite tournaments as he was upset by 29th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo in the third round of the Italian Open on Sunday.

It was Djokovic’s first match since accidentally getting knocked on the head by a water bottle while signing autographs after his opening win on Friday.

Djokovic started off with a double-fault and it didn’t get much better for the six-time Rome champion.

The top-ranked Djokovic lost his first two service games and went on to lose the match 6-2, 6-3 in just 68 minutes, handing Tabilo the victory when he double-faulted – his fifth of the match – and the boos rang out at the Foro Italico.

The third-round loss marked Djokovic’s worst performance at the Italian Open. He had lost only once before to an opponent outside the top 10 at Rome, where he had never gone out before the quarterfinals.

Djokovic followed Nadal with an early exit after the record 10-time Rome champion lost his third round match to Hubert Hurkacz 6-1, 6-3 on Saturday.

While Djokovic had said he was “fine” after the water bottle incident, it was an unusually off-key performance from the 24-time Grand Slam champion as he tries to step up his game on clay before attempting to defend his title at the French Open, which starts on May 26. (AP)