Novak Djokovic criticized British tennis player Cameron Norrie after their match at the Italian open earlier this month for what Djokovic felt was a lack of sportsmanship.
Now, Norrie is returning the criticism.
Djokovic called out Norrie following their fourth round match at the Italian Open after Norrie hit the 22-time Grand Slam champion in the leg with a tennis ball after Djokovic had already conceded point.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC CALLS OUT ITALIAN OPEN OPPONENT FOR LACK OF SPORTSMANSHIP AFTER RECEIVING A BALL
After advancing to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory, Djokovic addressed his frustrations during a post-match press conference in which he admitted it would be possible to argue that the hit was not deliberate, but it was a combination of incidents. during that game he considered it was not «fair play».
«Maybe it wasn’t so much because of that, but it was a combination of things. From the 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, ‘Let’s go,’ to the face more or less every point since basically the first game,» Djokovic said.
«Those are the things that we players know in the dressing room: it’s not fair play, it’s not how we treat each other, but again it’s allowed.»
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Norrie did not address Djokovic’s comments until his first round win at the open French this week, where he suggested that the Serbian tennis player also took advantage of the rules.
«He wanted more time in the physiotherapy bed and the game was scheduled for 11 am,» Norrie said. «And we leave at maybe 11:12 a.m., 11:13 a.m. I don’t think I’ve seen a problem with that.»
«He never said anything to me. And he never apologized… I’ve never seen that before from any player. Regardless of whether it’s a tennis match or not, you’re on time for anything.»
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Norrie also said he apologized to Djokovic after accidentally hitting him with the ball, adding that he «didn’t see it.»
«He wanted to win, it was one of those matches where he’s one of the best players in the world and he wanted to play his best and compete as hard as he could. I didn’t think I was in front of him at all.» I think, if anyone knows me, I’m pretty vocal in some games. It was a normal tennis match for me. I felt my hip a bit and took the medical timeout. It’s within the rules. And for him it is also in the rules to start the match at his time, to be late.
Amid his war of words with Norrie, Djokovic is also facing backlash for making a political statement on the recent conflict in Kosovo between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the northern region.