Former world No 1 ‘concerned’ about Novak Djokovic after ‘weird’ Italian Open loss

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic at the 2024 Monte Carlo Masters
Novak Djokovic during a match at the Monte Carlo Masters

Andy Roddick proclaimed that he is “more concerned” about Novak Djokovic’s game than he has been in 15 years after the Serb’s early exit at the 2024 Italian Open. 

The former world No 1 expressed his expectation that Djokovic would “ramp up” in Rome ahead of the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Djokovic was beaten 6-2, 6-3 by world No 32 Alejandro Tabilo in the third round of the Italian Open on Sunday in just an hour and seven minutes.

The 36-year-old, who was accidentally hit on the head by a bottle when signing autographs after his second round win over Corentin Moutet, delivered a very flat display against Tabilo.

Following a stunning 2023 campaign, the world No 1 has not yet hit the same heights this year and has not reached a final since winning the ATP Finals in November.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s longest trophyless start to a season: Will he break his own record?

Djokovic’s semi-final defeat to eventual champion Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open in January was his first loss at the Melbourne Grand Slam since 2018 and ended his 33-match winning streak at the event.

The 24-time Major winner then fell to a shock third round defeat to Luca Nardi at the Indian Wells Open in March, before skipping the Miami Open.

The Serbian started his clay-court season with a run to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, where he was beaten by Casper Ruud. He then opted to miss the Madrid Open before his appearance at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

On an episode of the Served with Andy Roddick podcast, Roddick weighed in on Djokovic’s struggles in 2024 after his loss to Tabilo.

“I’m more concerned about his tennis game than I’ve been in probably like, 15 years,” said the former US Open champion.

“Knowing that, maybe he just needs a bunch of us saying that, you know, the kind of ‘me against the world’ mentality that he’s mastered over the course of his career. But how long can we say, ‘He’ll turn it around’? I’ve been saying that the entire year.

“This one was weird, I thought he’d ramp up. You’re looking at the French Open, at Wimbledon, he said he’s prioritised the Olympics, you felt like the ramp-up was coming. That wasn’t a ramp-up.”

Djokovic will next feature at the 2024 French Open later this month, where he will look to defend the title he won in 2023.

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