Novak Djokovic apologized to the umpire after shouting at him during his rain-delayed contest against Taylor Fritz at the Rome Masters on Tuesday.
The World No 1 was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set when it started raining heavily. Despite Djokovic’s queries the umpire forced the players to continue the match. The rain and a lapse in concentration saw the Serb drop serve.
“How much do you wanna play?” Djokovic screamed at the chair umpire. “I asked you three times, you are not checking anything.”
Play was stopped at 5-5 due to the rainy conditions.
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Once the match resumed, after a three-hour break, Djokovic tried to make amends with the umpire. “Sorry for screaming at you,” he was heard saying.
Both the players comfortably held serve after coming back before Djokovic closed it out 6-3, 7-6 (5) to enter the third round in Rome.
“It was a very strange match with strange conditions. Obviously playing under the rain non-stop for almost two full sets, it is challenging for both me and him,” the Serb said.
“I thought that I had an advantage there because the conditions were slower which allows me to return his serves, because he’s got really big serves.”
Djokovic extended his head-to-head record to 4-0 against Fritz as he looks to defend his crown in Rome where he is 56-9 with five titles. He’ll next face either Cameron Norrie or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The World No 1 has struggled to maintain form since winning the Australian Open. He went down to Dan Evans in the Round of 16 at the Monte Carlos Masters and was defeated in the semi-finals of his home ATP event in Belgrade by Aslan Karatsev.