May 14, 2024

The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, no balance whatsoever on any shot. It’s a bit concerning,” Novak Djokovic, the no. 1 ATP ranked player was describing how he’d felt as he played his third round Italian Open match with the 29th seeded Chilean-Canadian Alejandro Tabilo.


The supposed accident happened while Djokovic ws near the stands signing autographs when a metal water bottle comes tumbling out of a fan’s knapsack and hits him on the head. Could the entire five minute incident have been avoided completely? Some say it was an accident, while others say precautions could have been taken.


As fans line up to get their ticket clipped or scanned at the entrance of nearly all tennis tournaments, everyone has to pass by a security checkpoint whether a metal detector is present or not. There is also a bag policy that most tournaments have stipulated for fans and everyone entering.


The Italian Open is no different. It’s clearly stated on their website: ‘BAG POLICY: Large bags and backpacks are typically not allowed inside the stadium for security reasons’ What has happened here is a lack of tight security on allowing a backpack of a fan to be carried into the venue.


The second situation may have happened that the entire knapsack could have been smuggled into the stadium wrapped up inside of another smaller bag. The third scenario is if the Italian Open has metal detectors at their entrances at all.


If not, dangerous situations may have the chance to prevail of any weapon being sneaked into the arena. The presence of metal detectors is a better situation but would the machine detect the metal water canister? If no metal detectors exist a wand detector usually is always used by security.


These secure measures obviously have breached. Other theories of Djokovic’s accident ws maybe it wasn’t an accident at all as many would like to profess. The fan may have been someone not wanting Djokovic to be able to play or let along win and planted themselves there at the exact time to drop the bottle onto the Serbian’s head.


Strangely enough the incident didn’t happen to Rafael Nadal, Andrey Rublev or Daniil Medvedev. Could the situation have developed with any players being in the same location, signing autographs? “It was unexpectedly obvious…I wasn’t even looking up.


Then I felt a very strong hit in the head,” Djokovic explained. This disturbing circumstance lasting no longer than five minutes has seemed to not been taken seriously enough. The fan that had the knapsack might have had only one ticket and when that bottle fell, he or she hurriedly left not to return.


Where does that leave Novak Djokovic healthwise? A possible slight concussion and not being able to play for how long isn’t determined. Who knows what security staff was the one who turned their heads because of crowds. As for Alejandro Tabilo that played Djokovic days after the bottle incident, he has gone on to win his next mach over Karen Khachanov in two tough tiebreaks.


Developments on the bottle situation, Djokovic’s health and his entry into the second Slam of the year, The French Open will be seen if it will happen. Meanwhile security must get tighter at not only the Italian Open but all venues so incidents like this will never happen again.

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