Djokovic slams Norrie over ‘not fair’ court antics

Novak Djokovic has hit out at Cameron Norrie following the Serbian’s straight-set victory in the round-of-16 of the Rome Open on Tuesday, criticising the British No.1’s behaviour on court.

Djokovic appeared furious when, at 2-2 in the second set, Norrie blasted an overhead volley into his body after he had already turned away to signal he had conceded the point. After the match, the world No. 1 accused Norrie of not playing fair in various antics on court.

“I did watch the replay when he hit me,” he said. “Yeah, maybe you could say he didn’t hit me deliberately. I don’t know if he saw me. I mean, peripherally you can always see where the player is positioned on the court. The ball was super slow and super close to the net. I just turned around because the point was over for me.

“It was not so much maybe about that, but it was maybe a combination of things. From the very beginning, I don’t know, he was doing all the things that were allowed.

“He’s allowed to take a medical timeout. He’s allowed to hit a player. He’s allowed to say ‘come on’ in the face more or less every single point from basically first game. Those are the things that we players know in the locker room it’s not fair play, it’s not how we treat each other. But, again, it’s allowed, so.”

Djokovic went on to seal the match with 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 28 minutes to continue his perfect record against Norrie, yet it was the Serbian who seemed the more discontent after the match.

“I got along with Cameron really well all these years that he’s been on the tour, [we] practiced with each other,” he added. “He’s very nice guy off the court, so I don’t understand this kind of attitude on the court, to be honest.

“But it is what it is. He brought the fire, and I responded to that. I’m not going to allow someone behaving like this just bending my head. I’m going to respond to that. That’s all it is.

“What happens on the court, we leave it on the court and we move on.”

Djokovic will face No. 7 Holger Rune in the quarterfinals as preparations continue for the French Open, commencing on Monday.

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