'What do you mean': Backlash over interviewer's Novak Djokovic question

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
The reporter's question to Novak Djokovic sparked an angry response. Image: Channel Nine
The reporter's question to Novak Djokovic sparked an angry response. Image: Channel Nine

An on-court interviewer sparked an angry backlash from Novak Djokovic’s fans on Monday night when she suggested the World No.1 got “frustrated” while in quarantine.

Djokovic will take on American Frances Tiafoe in the second round of the Australian Open after cruising past veteran Jeremy Chardy in a straight-sets masterclass.

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Djokovic beat Frenchman Chardy 6-3 6-1 6-2 in 91 minutes at Rod Laver Arena on Monday night, with the head-to-head record for the pair now standing at 14-0.

While Djokovic’s match was relatively straightforward, the post-match interview got a little controversial.

Fans booed and Djokovic was left bristling after the on-court interviewer asked him about his time in quarantine.

“You got a little frustrated in isolation as you were waiting to prepare for this, are you feeling good, are you feeling fit, do you feel you lost anything?” the reporter asked.

As fans started to boo and jeer the question, Djokovic shot back: “What do you mean I got frustrated? Wait, wait, wait, what do you mean?”

The reporter was quick to clarify the question.

“It’s not a negative term, just being stuck in quarantine for two weeks, was that a bit frustrating?” she said.

“You felt you might not get the practice you needed but you showed no loss of form.”

To his credit, Djokovic asked the crowd to settle down so the reporter could clarify.

“I’m just really glad we are free, we are playing tennis,” he said.

“I’m really glad we are back in Australia. It’s a happy place for us. That’s all.”

Djokovic had copped criticism last month after sending a list of requests to Australian Open boss Craig Tiley for players in quarantine.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after beating Jeremy Chardy at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic speaks after beating Jeremy Chardy at the Australian Open. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

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The 17-time grand slam winner was so dominant he didn't even face a break point during the match against Chardy.

Djokovic was thrilled with the display, and the eight-time Australian Open winner clearly thrived off the energy from the fans.

“It's an ongoing love affair with this court, me and Rod Laver Arena,” Djokovic said.

“I wanted to start off well tonight, first match, night session, one of the most special courts on the tennis tour that we have around the world.

“It's definitely my most successful and favourite court over the years. Every time I step on this court I relive those memories.

“It makes my heart full to see the crowd in the stadium again.

“I'm really glad to see a lot of people. This is the most people I've seen on the tennis court in 12 months.

“Sometimes we take these things for granted, but I'm grateful to see a crowd back again.”

with AAP

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