During the Italian Open, Novak Djokovic defeated Cameron Norrie in straight sets. However, tensions rose when Norrie accidentally hit the back of Djokovic’s leg with a powerful shot.
The situation happened at the beginning of the second set and even though Norrie quickly apologized, Djokovic reacted poorly by glaring at his opponent.
Djokovic maintained a steady gaze as he approached the net, then verbally countered the British No. 1.
After winning the round of 16 with a score of 6-3 6-4, Djokovic stated to reporters that it’s possible to argue that he did not intentionally hit me.
“I am uncertain if he noticed me. After all, it is possible to see a player’s location on the court at all times.”
Djokovic mentioned that Norrie’s behavior throughout the match was not entirely pleasing to him.
The 35-year-old Djokovic stated that it was not entirely about one thing, but rather a combination of factors.
“He was performing all actions within the rules. He had the right to request a medical timeout, make contact with another player during a hit, and vocalize ‘come on’ in their face on nearly every point from the beginning of the game.”
We, as players, are aware that certain actions in the locker room are not fair or respectful towards each other. However, despite this knowledge, it is still permitted.
Despite Djokovic’s discontent with Norrie, he maintained his focus on the court and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.
“He initiated the conflict, and I reacted to it. I refuse to let someone’s unacceptable behavior dictate my actions. I will stand up and address the situation,” stated the 22-time champion of major tennis tournaments.
“I have had a great relationship with Cameron throughout his years on the tour. We have practiced together and he has always been a kind person off the court. I am surprised by his behavior on the court.”
A spokesperson for Norrie informed CNN that the 13th ranked player has chosen not to make any statements regarding Djokovic’s post-match comments.