'No rhythm, no tempo, no balance': Djokovic makes shock exit after being hit by water bottle

Credit: AP

Novak Djokovic made an early exit from the Italian Open on Sunday, days after a water bottle hit him on the head.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion said his performance on Sunday was "concerning", saying he had "no rhythm, no tempo, no balance whatsoever on any shot."

In one of his worst ever performances, Djokovic was upset by the 29th-seeded Alejandro Tabilo in the third round of the Italian Open.

His shock exit came after the Serb had been accidentally struck on the head by an aluminium water bottle on Friday while signing autographs.

He said the knock on the head had "impacted [him] a lot."

Djokovic had initially said he was "fine" after the incident, but later admitted he had suffered "nausea, dizziness and blood."

But the player was in good humour on Saturday, when he was seen jokingly wearing a cycling helmet as he signed autographs for fans.

On Sunday, he said he felt like a "different player entered into my shoes", saying he lacked balance and coordination.

The world number one 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 for the fifth time during the match.

Alejandro Tabilo celebrates after his win Credit: AP

Djokovic had 12 unforced errors to Tabilo's four, and produced 14 winners to his opponents 22. He was broken four times in the match, including in the final game.

The 36-year-old had lost only once before to an opponent outside the top 10 in the Italian Open, where he had never gone out before the quarter-finals.

"I'm trying to soak it all in and wake up right now," the 26-year-old Tabilo said after his win, "I was just trying to keep my nerves in and keep swinging."

"It's crazy, I just can't believe what's happened. I don't think anyone can believe it," he said.