Novak Djokovic fumes at fan ‘drunk out of his mind’ at Australian Open

The nine-time champion was left upset by fans heckling him during his second-round match against Enzo Couacaud

Jack Rathborn
Thursday 19 January 2023 12:26 GMT
Fans greet Novak Djokovic at Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia

Novak Djokovic was left raging after a “drunk out of his mind” fan provoked him during his second-round match at the Australian Open.

The Serbian led Enzo Couacaud by two sets to one and 2-0 in the fourth set when he finally snapped after being heckled by four fans in ‘Where’s Wally?’ fancy dress.

Djokovic, who would eventually win 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-0, remonstrated with the umpire at deuce in the epic game, demanding the fan to be removed from Rod Laver Arena.

“The guy is drunk out of his mind,” Djokovic told chair umpire Fergus Murphy when pointing out the fan, who would eventually be tossed out following the game, which lasted 12 minutes and 14 seconds.

“From the first point he’s been provoking me. He's not here to watch tennis, he just wants to get in my head, you heard him at least 10 times, I heard him 50.

“What are you going to do about it? Get him out of the stadium.”

Djokovic reflected on the experience, adding: “It was interesting circumstances to deal with but that's a grand slam - the atmosphere was electric but in a bit of a negative way.”

The tension came after a testing match, with the 35-year-old struggling to contend with the Frenchman’s game and his troubling hamstring injury.

And Djokovic’s knock, which has caused havoc to his build-up to the grand slam, flared up in the second set.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia talks to chair umpire Fergus Murphy (Getty Images)

The nine-time champion at Melbourne Park let out a cry of pain after the ninth game of the second set, clutching his left hamstring.

Djokovic, ahead by a set but down in the second set at 5-4, immediately called for the trainer to examine his injury. After a brief conversation, Djokovic returned to the lockerroom for treatment.

Following the three-minute medical timeout, which lasted almost 10 minutes, Djokovic returned to the court with plaster underneath the tape around the problem area.

Fans in the crowd dressed up in ‘Where’s Wally?’ costumes wind up Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

He would hold serve to stay in the set but continued to pull up at the end of points. But the gritty Djokovic moved clear in the match despite losing a second-set tie-breaker, winning the third set 6-2 with some sensational tennis. And Djokovic held his nerve to advance to the third round in four sets, with a match against Grigor Dimitrov next.

“It's expected when you walk on the court as a favourite,” Djokovic said of the match. “Somebody playing his first time on Rod Laver Arena, you have to adapt and accept it.

“It had a little bit of everything tonight. I’m glad to get through this kind of match in four sets. I wanted to get through in three but credit to him, he played really well in that second set.”

Focus will now turn to the problem hamstring, with Djokovic providing an update on his condition.

“It’s not good at all, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’ll take it day by day. It was better in the last match than tonight, to be honest.

“That’s all I can say now. I just need God to help me now, and the physio and everyone. I’ll take it day by day and hopefully, I’ll be able to recover for a tough match-up (against Grigor Dimitrov) in the next round.”

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