Novak Djokovic screams at Italian Open umpire, later apologizes for being 'not nice'

·2 min read

As rain fell on the clay court and opponent Taylor Fritz kept kept up pressure with the match on the line, Novak Djokovic lost his cool at the Italian Open on Tuesday. And he let chair umpire Nacho Forcadell have it. 

The world No. 1 was serving for the win in his second-round match against the unranked American, up 5-4 in the second set. When Fritz broke him to tie the set at 5-5, Djokovic unleashed his frustration on Forcadell, screaming at the umpire about continuing to play in the adverse weather conditions.

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"How much more do you wanna play?" Djokovic yelled.

Forcadell responded by offering to check the clay court for conditions. 

"I asked you three times," Djokovic yelled back. "You are not checking anything."

The two continued to go back and forth before Forcadell eventually suspended play. After a three-hour delay, Djokovic and Fritz returned to finish the match that Djokovic won in a second-set tie break, 6-3 7-6 (5).

The break also appeared to give Djokovic a chance to catch his cool. He apologized to Forcadell after the match.

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Djokovic acknowledges that he was 'not nice'

"Sorry for screaming earlier," Djokovic told Forcadell at the net. "It was not nice."

After the match, Djokovic told reporters that he was "stressed" prior to his outburst and thought that stopping the match was the right decision. He also described the incident as an opportunity to learn a lesson.

"Look, it’s not the first time or probably the last time that I’m gonna experience such conditions," Djokovic said after the match. "Even with that much experience behind me, I still get upset and lose my cool.

"But it’s ok. At the end of the day, these are great lessons I’ll try to take away."

Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves to USA's Taylor Fritz during their first round match of the Men's Italian Open at Foro Italico on May 11, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic unleashed his frustrations on an umpire during a tense moment in an Italian Open match. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic's emotions have cost him before

Djokovic made headlines last year when his emotions led to his ouster at the US Open. After losing a point in his match against Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic hit a ball behind him in frustration an inadvertantly struck a line judge. The incident led to an automatic disqualification.

Djokovic advanced to face the winner between Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Britain's Cameron Norrie in the round of 16.

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