Novak Djokovic pulls umpire into sarcastic row as Jannik Sinner tie heats up

Novak Djokovic confronted the umpire when he thought that she failed to call a let on one of Jannik Sinner’s serves. The world No 1 claimed that Aurelie Tourte heard the let machine beep when he served but not when his opponent did while the Italian crowd booed as Djokovic pleaded his case. 

There was more drama in an already-fiery contest at the ATP Finals on Tuesday night as Djokovic approached the chair umpire to raise a concern about let calls following a booming serve from Sinner. The world No 4 held serve in the first game of the final set after Djokovic managed to take the second in a tiebreak.

But the six-time ATP Finals champion believed that the let machine beeped on Sinner’s serve – something that wasn’t called by the umpire. He approached Tourte and argued his case but she replied: “It didn’t beep or I didn’t hear it.” But Djokovic wasn’t happy considering that some of his own serves had been called as a let – including his set point at 6-5 in the tiebreak.

“Okay, so we are playing tonight this way. Every time he makes a let wide, it’s not a let. Tiebreak set point, I make an ace, you call a let. Everyone heard,” the 24-time Major winner argued. But Tourte didn’t back down, explaining that she wouldn’t call a let unless she heard it herself.

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“I’m not saying it wasn’t a let. I didn’t hear this one. When I hear it, I call it,” Tourte added. Djokovic retreated and continued playing but the boos were already ringing out through the Pala Alpitour – not for the first time on Tuesday night. The top seed was first booed in the opening set when he sarcastically applauded the crowd for cheering his double fault.

Djokovic was 40-0 up at 5-5 in the first set when Sinner managed to get to deuce, and a double fault from the top seed handed his opponent a break point. After he responded to the crowd and they jeered back, the 22-year-old managed to break and served out the set 7-5.

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And Djokovic was booed again when he consulted the umpire about a different call halfway through the second set, waving his arms in response to spur them on as he soaked up the atmosphere.

Earlier in the day, the ATP Finals crowd booed Stefanos Tsitsipas when he when he was forced to retire injured from the afternoon singles match against Holger Rune while trailing 1-2. The world No 6 later pulled out of the tournament and apologised for cutting the match short, revealing that he felt something during the on-court warm-up and again in the second game.

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