Novak Djokovic accuses 'annoying' Australian Open fan of lacking 'courage' to face him in heated win

Novak Djokovic accuses 'annoying' Australian Open fan of lacking 'courage' to face him in heated win

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Novak Djokovic wins at the Australian Open

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 17/01/2024

- 13:21

Updated: 17/01/2024

- 14:34

The world No 1 is through to the third round in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic called out a fan in a heated exchange during his Australian Open win over Alexei Popyrin.

The 36-year-old won in four sets but was left angry with the reception he received from the crowd.

Djokovic was made to work at Rod Laver Arena against home favourite Popyrin.The 24-time Grand Slam singles champion won the first set 6-3 in convincing fashion.

But as he did against Dino Prizmic in the first round, Djokovic lost the second set.

Novak Djokovic tennis

Novak Djokovic lost his temper with a fan at the Australian Open during his win over Alexei Popyrin


Popyrin gave a good account of himself, winning 6-4 before giving Djokovic a mighty scare in the third.

The 24-year-old passed up four set points and his superior opponent made him pay.

Djokovic eventually mopped up the third set and then took the fourth 6-3 to set up a third-round clash against Argentina's Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

He praised his opponent for his performance during his on-court interview.

However, he waited until he was off court before criticising the crowd.

Djokovic claimed that fans were shouting at the wrong time throughout the match.

And he recalled one moment in particular where he called out a supporter after he was heckled.

The fan in question apologised to Djokovic, which he claimed showed a lack of 'courage'.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic raged as a fan heckled him at the Australian Open


Djokovic told Eurosport: "Yeah I was feeling really a lot of mixed emotions today on the court.

"Not a great atmosphere to play in to be honest for me but again you have to find a way to win and accept the circumstances, conditions you're playing in.

"People basically made noise between the first and second serve the entire match.

"It is what it is, it's a Grand Slam, it's a fight. Of course it annoys you but at the same time you have to accept it and go with it.

"But you know what really frustrates me is when someone is heckling. So I confronted the hecklers as I did.

"I invited a guy to come and tell it to my face whatever he was saying and he was saying a lot of nice things.

"So he was apologising from far away and all of a sudden there was absence of courage when he needs to face me."


Alexei Popyrin and Novak Djokovic

Alexei Popyrin gave Novak Djokovic a tough test at Rod Laver Arena


Djokovic was far from his best and has also been feeling under the weather.

The 10-time winner is hoping to improve with each passing match.

He added: "I don't really want to get into the details about how I feel.

"I'm definitely not playing or feeling my best.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic was delighted to make it through to the third round


"I've been in this kind of situation before and hopefully as I said on the court I build as the tournament progresses.

"I know what I need to do and the good thing about Slams is you always have an extra day of rest between matches.

"So hopefully things will go in a positive direction from here."

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