WATCH: Novak Djokovic slumps to the floor after being hit in shocking Italian Open incident

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic after a win at the Italian Open
Novak Djokovic after a win at the Italian Open

Novak Djokovic was involved in a shocking incident at the Italian Open, moments after he beat lucky loser Corentin Moutet in an intriguing second round match.

Djokovic needed to produce a fine performance to see off the unpredictable Moutet, yet the mood turned dark as he signed autographs after leaving the court.

Djokovic fell to the ground for more than half a minute before he returned to his feet, flanked by multiple officials, and then headed to the medical centre.

A statement from the Italian Open read: “Novak Djokovic has been accidentally hit by a bottle while signing autographs after his 6-3 6-1 win against France’s Corentin Moutet at the Italian Open.

“This is not being treated as a deliberate act, but as an accident. A boy was calling out to get an autograph and the bottle fell out of his bag. Novak has been taken to the medical centre.”

The Management of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia then updated that comment with a further statement reading: “Novak Djokovic on leaving the Central court at the end of his match was accidentally 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.”

Djokovic had made a nervy opening to the first set as Moutet broke twice to move 3-1 ahead.

The Serbian, though, fought back with two breaks of his own before serving out the opening set in 45 minutes.

There was a light-hearted moment at the start of the second set when the alarm on Moutet’s phone in his bag went off, with the Frenchman making a quick dash to his chair to hit the stop button.

With Djokovic 2-0 up after an early break, the world number one noticed a hole near the baseline on his side of the court, which was quickly patched up before extra clay was bedded in during the next change of ends.

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After such a promising start, Moutet was beginning to lose his cool – and was warned by the umpire after kicking the net in frustration after sliding in for a forehand.

Djokovic – competing in his first match since the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo – kept the pressure on Moutet’s serve to bring up a match point, which he took at the first opportunity with a forehand volley to complete his 6-3 6-1 win.

“You always have doubts,” said Djokovic as he was asked about his return to tennis for the first time in over a month.

“Every single match. It is just the manner of how you deal with them and how long they stay there. How long they overwhelm your whole being and mind. It is an internal battle always more than an external battle. If you win that battle the external battle becomes a little bit more likely for you to win.

“Match play is different to practice sets. I played a lefty and I have not practised with a lefty in a while, so it took me a little time to adjust to the different rotations of the ball. The first four games were quite bad from me. A bad start. I lost both my service games.

“But then I played well. I only lost one game from 1-3 down. Corentin is a very talented player. He has great hands and is very unpredictable. You don’t know what comes up next, so I had to stay focused, which I did and it is a good opening match.”

Those words were offered up by Djokovic before the incident with the bottle striking his head, with the Serbian yet to confirm his medical condition after the incident.