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.”
She wanted to corner Novak but Novak got good of her 😂
— Santha 🇮🇳🙏🏻 (@infinity_soul10) February 8, 2021
She didnt expect such a response from crowd too i think lol
— THE JOKER(S) 🃏🇷🇸 (@NBASerbians) February 8, 2021
Even Chris Fowler had to comment..." he really has gotten good about spinning back this stuff"
No one defends our Champ (NO ONE) better than he himself. He is to professional dignified and genuine for people to discredit in a face 2 face encounter for them to not look bad.
— Tom K (@tomk429) February 8, 2021
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 makes early statement
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.”
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