Novak Djokovic’s love-hate relationship with Aussie tennis fans has continued during his second-round matchup against American up and comer Frances Tiafoe.
The Serbian world No.1 was heavily criticised for his ill-fated attempts to lobby Tennis Australia and the Victorian government to give players in hotel quarantine special treatment, and has been at pains to praise the system since.
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The 33-year-old has also continued his running feud with Australian star Nick Kyrgios, who labelled him a ‘tool’ over his list of suggestions to improve quarantine.
After saying he had little respect for Kyrgios during a recent press conference, Djokovic found himself contending with two fans in the stands who were giving it their all for Tiafoe.
Their loud cheering in the first set clearly captured the attention of Djokovic, who directed a celebration at the pair after pulling ahead 5-3 in the first set.
“There happen to be to people right beneath our comms box that are barking loudly for Tiafoe, and Novak came at them specifically after that point,” commentator Jim Courier pointed out, chuckling as he did so.
“That was directed at two guys down here who might be enjoying a tasty adult beverage or two.
“One of them is wearing a Shane Warne jersey.”
While Djokovic entered the match against Tiafoe as a heavy favourite, the American world No.64 hit back to claim the second set.
Novak Djokovic has spotted some rowdy Aussies cheering his opponent on... 👀
...and he made sure to give it to them when he broke serve! 😂
STREAM: https://t.co/TYsz5RZN3Z#9WWOS #AusOpen #AO2021 pic.twitter.com/zBF2HO7DEE
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) February 10, 2021
Djokovic got Tiafoe’s fans rattled lol
— Brian (@monkigrass) February 10, 2021
Djokovic is fired up! Calling out some fans. 😂 It’ll probably fuel his desire to win. #AusOpen
— JJ (@TomcatNASCAR_2) February 10, 2021
Wawrinka stunned in Open second round
Former champion Stan Wawrinka has been blown three match points to make a dramatic exit from the Australian Open.
After fighting back from two sets down, Wawrinka succumbed 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 (11-9) to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday.
It was Fucsovics' second five-setter in as many matches after he beat Australian Marc Polmans first-up.
"Right now, I feel like I'm dying," Fucsovics said.
"I'm really tired. I played two five-setters. Today's hot but I'm really happy to be in the third round."
With Wawrinka knocked out and his fellow Swiss Roger Federer absent, world No.1 Novak Djokovic is now the only Australian Open champion from the past decade left in the draw.
Wawrinka had cruised past Pedro Sousa first-up but faced a far sterner task in Fucsovics, who reeled off the first two sets before the 2014 Melbourne Park champion kicked into action.
The 17th seed fought out the third set, then ripped his way through the fourth to tee up a dramatic finish.
In the fifth set, Fucsovics broke Wawrinka's serve while leading 4-3, only to be immediately broken back when serving for the match the next game, with the contest ultimately going to a match tiebreak.
Wawrinka snuck out to a 6-1 lead in the match tiebreak and had three match points at 9-6 but lost all three. Fucsovics then did not make a mistake with his first and only match point.
He will face 14th seed Milos Raonic in the third round after the Canadian beat Corentin Moutet 6-7 (1-7) 6-1 6-1 6-4.
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