Novak Djokovic is yet to be beaten by another player this year, but the World No 1 hasn’t quite been at model behavior on the court.
Djokovic received an obscenity warning during his 7-5, 6-3 win over Casper Ruud in the semifinals of Rome Masters on Sunday.
The Serb had been at loggerheads with the umpire over a few contested calls, and the obscenity warning came during the third game of the second set.
“I deserved a warning, I didn’t say nice things in my language,” said Djokovic, who saved two set points in the first set.
“I got into disputes with chair umpire – as I understand, I was right three out of three (times), but it doesn’t matter, everybody makes mistakes, it was in the heat of the battle.”
In his previous match, against German qualifier Dominik Koepfer, the 33-year-old Djokovic had received a code violation for breaking his racquet.
“That’s how, I guess, I release sometimes my anger and it’s definitely not the best message out there, especially for the young tennis players looking at me, and I don’t encourage that – definitely,” he had said.
The Serb had a perfect record this season before the resumption of the tour and looked on track to win his 18th major at the US Open, when he had to default his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta a fortnight ago.
After losing his serve for 5-6 in the opening set, the World No 1 struck a ball in anger at the backboard that accidentally hit a lineswoman in the throat.
That has been the only ‘L’ against Djokovic’s name this truncated season. He is now 30-1 in 2020. Only in 2011, when he won his opening 41 matches of the year, has Djokovic reached 30 victories quicker.
He is bidding for his 36th Masters 1000 title and fifth Rome Masters title and will take on Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the final on Monday evening.
“It is super important [to win the title]. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here,” said Djokovic on court after his win. “I don’t take anything for granted, even after 15 years on the Tour, I still enjoy it.
“I still have a hunger for the titles and putting myself in a position to fight for the title is exactly where I want to be.”