Djokovic hit by bottle while signing autographs at Rome Open. GETTY IMAGES

While greeting fans at the end of his match against Corentin Moutet, Novak Djokovic was accidentally hit by a plastic bottle. He was accompanied by security and left the Centre Court with a superficial wound and some bleeding, with his injuries deemed not serious.

The accident suffered by the Serbian ace as he left the Centre Court overshadowed his rapid start to the Rome Open, which he won 6-3, 6-1 against Frenchman Moutet. While greeting fans in the tunnel leading to the dressing rooms, one of them got too close. Unfortunately, the plastic bottle slipped out of his hand and struck Djokovic on the head, causing a superficial wound that is not serious.

Djokovic remained crouched on the ground in obvious pain. He was escorted out of the arena on foot by security, who shielded the Serb. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) did not issue a statement on his condition, but a spokesman for the Italian Tennis Federation (FITP) told AFP that Djokovic had been taken back to his hotel with a minor head injury and that there was no risk of him withdrawing from the tournament.

Djokovic's spokesman said he did not need stitches and that the bottle probably fell when a fan tried to get the player's attention. They added that security camera footage will help identify the individual to prevent such an unpleasant incident from happening again.

"His condition is not worrying," the organisers said in a brief statement before sending the media a video showing the bottle appearing to accidentally slip from a spectator's hand before landing on Djokovic's head.

It is not a serious matter of ensuring the world number one's presence. A withdrawal by Djokovic would be a disaster for the organisers of the Rome Open, the last major tournament before the French Open. The Serbian's absence would also be a blow to the organisation, given Italian Jannik Sinner, ranked second in the world, and Carlos Alcaraz, ranked third, both withdrew before the start of the tournament.

Djokovic after beating Moutet in Rome. GETTY IMAGES
Djokovic after beating Moutet in Rome. GETTY IMAGES

The Italians will not be able to celebrate the withdrawal of Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti. The latter lost to Frenchman Terence Atmane on Friday morning. Djokovic's next match will be against Chile's Alejandro Tabilo in the third round. He will have a great opportunity to add to his record at the Foro Italico, where only Nadal has won more titles with 10. The Serb could extend his record by winning his 41st Masters 1000 title.

In the women's draw, Ons Jabeur was beaten 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 by Sofia Kenin in the second round. In a gruelling match that lasted two hours and 17 minutes under the warm Rome sun. The Tunisian, who became the first Arab player to win a WTA 1000 title in 2022, seemed to have improved her form. 

However, she had to contend with a chronic knee injury that has plagued her all year. Jabeur is a long way from the moment she captivated the world in last year's Wimbledon final. She lost in straight sets to the less attractive Marketa Vondrousova after dominating a series of Grand Slams.