Novak Djokovic plays as if he does not care in third round of Italian Open

Djokovic was soundly beaten in a way not seen very often in decades.
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Alejandro Tabilo showed zero fear in the third round of the Italian Open against arguably the greatest player ever, Novak Djokovic. To be fair, Tabilo had no real idea of the quality of the player he was facing. He had never played Djokovic before. Still, the idea of Djokovic can be intimidating to most, just not Tabilo.

If one had never watched a tennis match before, turned the TV on, and did not know which player was which, one might have guessed that the greatness they were watching from one of the players would have been Djokovic. Instead, Tabilo was hitting the ball with his forearm an average of 10 MPH more than the Serb. Tabilo held service games with ease while Djokovic was broken early and often to begin the match.

The same thing happened in the second round for Djokovic as well. He started slowly but he was able to break back against his opponent, Corentin Moutet, as well. Over the course of that match, Djokovic regained his normal form and began to dominate. The opposite occurred against Tabilo.

Alejandro Tabilo destroys Novak Djokovic at the Italian Open

The Chilean never faced a break point and kept hitting forehand cross-court winners as if he had done the same for many years in the 6-2 6-3 victory. What made Tabilo's sheer destruction of Djokovic even more shocking was that there was no nervousness in Tabilo's play and no fear. This appears to be a growing trend in 2024 as well; fewer players appear afraid to play Djokovic.

At one point late in the first set, Djokovic appeared to just want to either get the set or the entire match over quickly. Usually, he bounces and bounces and bounces some more of the ball before he serves. He stopped doing that and simply grabbed the ball and served. He made few facial expressions and his body language did not indicate he was unhappy with his form. He seemed content to accept defeat. Three times he double-faulted to end one of his service games.

Novak Djokovic has not made the final of any tournament this year. He isn't playing extremely poorly, but more and more his opponents are dictating the pace of play, such as Tabilo did at the Italian Open. We likely have seen the best of Djokovic and he seems to have no chance of winning a Grand Slam again.

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