Novak Djokovic will not defend his title at the Italian Open this year after being upset by 20-year-old Danish tennis player Holger Rune on Wednesday.
Djokovic, who advanced to his 17th consecutive quarterfinal match at the Italian Open after defeating Cameron Norrie on Tuesday, was eliminated following a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 loss to Rune.
This was Djokovic’s second loss to Rune in six months and comes just ahead of the French Open, where Rune is eyeing his first-career Grand Slam.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC CALLS OUT ITALIAN OPEN OPPONENT OVER LACK OF SPORTSMANSHIP AFTER GETTING HIT BY BALL
“I want to win a Grand Slam this year,” Rune told reporters after the match. “Obviously I hope it can be achieved at the French Open. If not, I hope to make it in the other two Grand Slams.”
Djokovic pointed to poor weather conditions in Rome, saying that it created “slower” play. The match was suspended for more than an hour because of rain.
“Slower conditions these days – I think this is probably the coldest and the wettest tournament I’ve ever played here in Rome.… Obviously, in this kind of conditions, it’s very difficult to get the ball past him.”
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“He was just better. He played too good for me for most part of the match,” Djokovic added. “He kept his nerves and deserved to win.”
Djokovic has won six titles in Rome. Only Rafael Nadal has more wins with 10.
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“I’m going to ask him [for] tips,” Djokovic joked when asked by one reporter if he had any tips for Rune as they head next to Roland Garros.
“He beat me twice when we played against each other, so. I have no tips for him. So far he’s doing very well.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.