'Fine' Djokovic dons cycling crash helmet after Rome bottle drama

motorsport11 May 2024 17:45| © AFP
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Novak Djokovic © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic light-heartedly donned a cycling crash helmet on Saturday after being hit on the head by a water bottle at the Rome Open but insisted he was feeling "fine".

World number one Djokovic was left crouched on the ground in agony when a bottle struck him as he greeted fans on centre court at the Foro Italico following his second-round win over France's Corentin Moutet on Friday.

"Thank you for the messages of concern," Djokovic wrote Saturday on X.

"This was an accident and I am fine resting at the hotel with an ice pack. See you all on Sunday."

The 36-year-old later posted a video of himself wearing a bicycle helmet as he came to training, with the jokey message "Today I came prepared".

He will next face Chile's Alejandro Tabilo on Sunday as the Serb warms up for the French Open with a great chance to add to his six titles in Rome, where only Rafael Nadal has won more with 10.

There had been fears that Djokovic might join the list of players to withdraw from the tournament after the 24-time Grand Slam winner was covered by security staff as he was led from the arena on foot.

However tournament organisers later released a short statement saying Djokovic's "condition is not a cause for concern", and shared a video showing that the bottle had accidentally slipped from a spectator's grasp.

Djokovic's absence would have been a blow for the last major tournament before the French Open which is already without Italian world number two Jannik Sinner and third-ranked Carlos Alcaraz.

Home fans have also been deprived of cheering on former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti who both pulled out, Musetti while losing to France's Terence Atmane on Friday morning.

And Djokovic's great clay-court rival Nadal, a big crowd favourite, was dumped out in the second round on Saturday by seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz.