12-time Grand Slam champion exits Roland Garros at quarter-final stage
The 12-time grand slam winner was stunned in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by world number 72 Marco Cecchinato.
Italian Cecchinato won in four sets, scrambling over the line in an epic tie-break on his fourth match point.
Afterwards a dazed Djokovic, who has struggled with injury for much of the last year, was asked when he planned to make his first grass-court appearance.
He replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just came from the court. Sorry, guys, I can’t give you that answer. I cannot give you any answer.
“How do I regroup? I don’t know. I’m just not thinking about tennis at the moment.”
The Serbian needed lengthy treatment on a neck problem after dropping the first set.
But Cecchinato proved an even bigger pain in the neck for the 2016 Paris champion.
Djokovic had two set points at 6-5 in the second but went on to lose the tie-break.
Cecchinato was mixing things up to great effect, tying Djokovic to the baseline while throwing in regular, at times remarkable, spin-heavy drop-shots from the back of the court.
Yet Djokovic won the third set at a canter, and a suddenly frustrated Cecchinato was hit with a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The storm seemed to have blown itself out and djokovic served for the fourth set at 5-3.
But from somewhere Cecchinato got a second wind, breaking back and forcing a tie-break.
It was a classic, Djokovic wasting three set points and Cecchinato unable to take the first of three for the match.
But on number four Djokovic left a looping backhand return which landed just in and Cecchinato celebrated a famous victory, 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 1-6 7/6 (13-11).
Cecchinato had not won a single grand slam match until he arrived at Roland Garros, but the 25-year-old is now the first Italian to reach the semi-final since Corrado Barazzutti 40 years ago.
He said: “Maybe I’m sleeping. It’s amazing. It’s unbelievable for me. For me to beat Djokovic in a quarter-final at Roland Garros it’s amazing.
“For me, it’s the first time semi-final grand slam. Now I need to think for the semi-final and I need some rest for recovery. I am very happy.”