Novak Djokovic injured by falling bottle after beating Corentin Moutet in Rome

Novak Djokovic injured by falling bottle after beating Corentin Moutet in Rome

Novak Djokovic received medical treatment after being struck on the head by a bottle while attempting to sign autographs following his opening win at the Italian Open in Rome.

Djokovic, the top seed, reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Corentin Moutet of France. After completing his on-court interview, Djokovic approached fans by the entrance to the court and began signing memorabilia. After Djokovic signed a cap and ticket, a large metal bottle fell at speed on to Djokovic’s head. The Serb fell to the ground, where he remained for around 40 seconds before he was guided away by security guards.

In video footage provided by tournament organisers, the bottle appeared to have fallen from the backpack of a fan as he reached down to high-five Djokovic. The 36-year-old received stitches for a cut on his head and he did not speak with the press after his match, but later posted on social media that he is “fine” and will not be withdrawing from the event.

“Thank you for the messages of concern,” Djokovic wrote on X. “This was an accident and I am fine, resting at the hotel with an ice pack. See you all on Sunday.” Djokovic is scheduled to face Alejandro Tabilo, the 29th seed, in the third round then.

Novak Djokovic is struck by a metal bottle which fell from the stands at the Foro ItalicoView image in fullscreen

“Novak Djokovic on leaving the central court at the end of his match was hit on the head by a water bottle while signing autographs to spectators. He underwent appropriate medication and has already left the Foro Italico to return to his hotel; his condition is not a cause for concern,” Italian Open management announced.

Katie Boulter was defeated 6-4, 7-6 (8) by Rebecca Sramkova in the second round. After an emphatic start from the Slovak qualifier, Boulter fought hard to the end and generated a set point in the second set, which was scuppered by an excellent drop shot from Sramkova.

Boulter was eventually outplayed by a more experienced and resourceful clay court player, who worked the Briton off the court with her topspin forehand and was more consistent in the decisive moments. Boulter, the 26th seed, had received a first-round bye in only her second WTA main draw appearance and eighth red clay tournament in her career.

Dominic Thiem, the 2020 men’s US Open champion, will retire at the end of the 2024 season at the age of 31 after struggling to rediscover his old form following a career-altering wrist injury.

“I have to tell you a very important, very sad but also very beautiful message,” said Thiem. “The season 2024 is gonna be my last one. I’m gonna finish my career with the end of this season. There are some reasons behind it. Firstly, of course, my wrist, it’s not exactly the way it should be and it’s not exactly the way how I want it. And the second reason is my inner feeling. I was thinking about this decision for a very long time. I was thinking very carefully about it.”

Katie Boulter hits a backhand at the Italian OpenView image in fullscreen

Thiem, who rose to a career high ranking of No 3, won his only grand slam title at the US Open in 2020, a tournament played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions, by defeating Alexander Zverev in five sets. Thiem’s pursuit of a grand slam title had been long and hard-fought, with the Austrian reaching two French Open finals, one Australian Open final and winning his only Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells in 2019 before his biggest triumph.

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At the height of his powers between 2018 and 2020 Thiem also offered significant resistance to the dominance of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, registering at least four wins against each of them.

During his rise to No 3 in the world, Thiem developed his own brand of heavy, destructive ball-striking, driven by one of the best single-handed backhands of the 21st century. He was also known as an extremely hard worker who played a heavy schedule for much of his career. As he grew and matured as a player, Thiem became increasingly complete and by the end of 2020 he appeared to have put himself in a good position to compete for multiple major titles.

Instead, things fell apart. Thiem’s considerable effort to reach the top of the game began to take its toll after the US Open win as he initially struggled with burnout. Then, as he regained his motivation, he picked up a significant injury to his right wrist in June 2021.

He returned in March 2022, but his forehand has been significantly affected by the injury and he has been unable to rediscover his old form. Ranked No 103, Thiem’s highest ranking since his wrist injury was No 72 at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray has decided to bring forward his comeback from an ankle injury by a week, with the 36-year-old due to compete at an ATP Challenger event in Bordeaux next week.

Murray had been confirmed to compete at the ATP 250 tournament in Geneva, which begins on 19 May, the week before the French Open. Murray will then plan to compete at Roland Garros, where he will also play doubles alongside Dan Evans. Murray will begin what is expected to be his final grass-court season at the Stuttgart Open on 10 June.