'Blatant disrespect': Novak Djokovic at centre of Australian Open crowd drama

Novak Djokovic went into his Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem as a seven-time champion, yet he still couldn’t command the lion’s share of support at Melbourne Park.

The World No.2 got off to a scary start after breaking the Austrian in the second game, with many viewers fearing the 16-time grand slam champion was on the verge of a straight sets demolition.

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Support for the underdog was immense inside Rod Laver Arena and the Austrian gave them plenty to cheer about after grabbing his own break in the eighth game.

With the scores locked at 4-4, Djokovic's surgical opening to the grand slam decider was replaced with frustration as the increasingly pro-Thiem crowd’s voices grew louder.

At one point on serve, the Serbian’s anger bubbled over as he complained to the chair umpire about the rowdy fans.

Seen here, Novak Djokovic was unhappy with the crowd during the Australian Open final.
Novak Djokovic was frustrated with rowdy fans in the opening set of the Australian Open final. Pic: Getty

Channel Nine callers Jim Courier and Todd Woodbridge both commented that the loudest cheers from within Rod Laver Arena were for Thiem, rather than the seven-time champion.

While that would no doubt have irked the Serb, Djokovic's real annoyance was with the crowd yelling out during his service motions.

At one point, the increasingly agitated World No.2 stopped to plead his case with the chair umpire, asking for fans to remain quiet while he was serving.

Many viewers took aim at the noisy crowd for disrespecting Djokovic, however others suggested he needed to accept the fact that Aussie fans loved to cheer for an underdog.

Djokovic set up a break point at 5-4 on Thiem's serve and despite letting the initial chance slip, the Serb eventually clinched the opening set.

Thiem wouldn’t be bullied though and grabbed an early break of his own to start the second set in style.

The eighth game of the second set proved pivotal as Djokovic capitalised on a wayward backhand from Thiem to break back and square it up at 4-4.

Djokovic was then pinged for a time violation on his first serve while two break points down.

The Austrian made the most of the controversial call to claim the proceeding point and set up a chance to serve for the second set.

The fifth seed gave himself three chances to level it at one set all and made it count on the second as a rattled Djokovic sent a backhand groundstroke well wide.