Australian Open

'Agitated' Djokovic regrets meltdown in floodlight fury

2019-01-19 14:29
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic (AP)

Melbourne - Top seed Novak Djokovic admitted he should have "known better" than to let a floodlight row get to him after copping a code violation during a mini-meltdown in the Australian Open on Saturday.

The Serb angrily blamed floodlights for dropping a tournament set for the first time as he beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in the third round.

He seethed when leading 3-0 in the third set against the 25th-seeded Canadian when the powerful lights blazed on all around Rod Laver Arena - in broad daylight.

An incandescent Djokovic lost his focus, swore towards a wise-cracking fan and dropped six of the next seven games as the red mist descended under bright sunshine.

"I think there was no sense to turn on lights on court at 5pm when we have another four hours of daylight," fumed the Serb 14-time Grand Slam winner.

"Completely unnecessary to turn on the lights. The explanation I got was for TV reasons. I hope the viewers enjoyed it," he added.

The normally mild-mannered Djokovic earned his warning from French umpire Damien Dumusois for snapping at a cheeky fan who shouted "Nervous?", as he faced three break points at 4-4, 0-40 in the third set.

"I misconducted myself verbally. That's why I got the code violation," a sheepish Djokovic told reporters after he had calmed down. 

"It was very bright. There was no reason for the lights. 

"For the first two sets, just had things under control. At 4-1 (up in the third set), I was agitated. 

"As I said, should not happen to me. I know better. I have experience. But it does happen, I guess. I allowed him to come back to the match.

"Other than the little let down that I had when I was 4-1, 4-2 up in the third set, other than that I thought I played well, especially in the fourth set." 

Up till his mini-meltdown, Djokovic had made his outing on centre court look like an afternoon practice session for two-and-a-half sets against Shapovalov, one of the NextGen stars tipped to take over from the sport's old guard.

He skilfully dominated the 19-year-old, who could not find enough winners to throw the 14-time Grand Slam winner off his stride until the dazzling interruption to concentration.

"I expected Denis to come out and be aggressive. He made a lot of unforced errors, I thought, for the first set and a half," said Djokovic who extended his winning streak against left-handers at Grand Slams to 18 matches.

The last leftie to beat him at a major was Rafael Nadal in the final at Roland Garros in 2014.

Djokovic left the court at the end of the third set and came back refocused.

He unleashed a massive primal scream to relieve his tension as he broke for 2-0 before closing out the whirlwind last set in a match that lasted 2 hours 22 minutes.

"Making that break was crucial for me," said Djokovic.

"It was important to start off the fourth set well."

Djokovic's victory means he is guaranteed to stay world number one when the new rankings are released after the tournament. 

He next plays another young gun, Russia's 22-year-old 15th seed Daniil Medvedev.

Collated results from Day 6 of the Australian Open on Saturday:


Round 3

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x15) bt David Goffin (BEL x21) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 6-2

Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x23) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x12) 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

Milos Raonic (CAN x16) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) 

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Denis Shapovalov (CAN x25) 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0

Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Alex Bolt (AUS) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2

Borna Coric (CRO x11) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

Lucas Pouille (FRA x28) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-7 (10/12), 4-6, 6-3


Round 3

Naomi Osaka (JPN x4) bt Hsieh Su-wei (TPE x28) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1

Elina Svitolina (UKR x6) bt Shuai Zhang (CHN) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x13) bt Wang Qiang (CHN x21) 6-3, 6-3

Serena Williams (USA x16) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 6-2, 6-1

Madison Keys (USA x17) bt Elise Mertens (BEL x12) 6-3, 6-2

Simona Halep (ROU x1) bt Venus Williams (USA) 6-2, 6-3

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x18) bt Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x7) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA x27) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2

Read more on:    atp tour  |  australian open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis


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