Novak Djokovic has come under fire from fans after a fiery exchange with the chair umpire in the final of the Australian Open.
The seven-time champion at Melbourne Park already had a pro-Dominic Thiem loudly cheering against him inside Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.
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However, the Serb’s night got a whole lot worse courtesy of a controversial moment during a tense second set.
The 16-time grand slam champion looked at times unstoppable on his way to claiming the opening set against the Austrian fifth seed.
The first cracks began to appear in the second set though, with Djokovic on serve and the scores locked at 4-4.
Thiem gave himself a sniff at a vital break when Djokovic was twice pinged by the chair umpire for time violations on his serve.
Djokovic was 15-40 down on the second occasion, meaning he was denied a first serve on break point after failing to beat the serving clock.
Thiem made the most of the contentious call to take his break chance, much to the frustration of his opponent.
Djokovic, clearly irked by the call, then risked further penalty after sarcastically tapping the chair umpire's foot, before the change of serves.
The Serb could be heard showering the official with false congratulations for "making yourself famous".
While it appeared a cruel turn of events for Djokovic at such a crucial stage in the match, he found little sympathy from viewers.
Novak Djokovic receives a second time violation and a loss of first serve. Taps the umpire Damien Dumusois's shoe when he walks past and congratulates him: "You made yourself famous." #AusOpen https://t.co/MKEFpJQwsV
— Sankalp Sharma (@SankalpSharma_) February 2, 2020
#bbctennis Djokovic only has himself to blame with those time violations. He knows the rule, and the penalty for violating it. Even more so as he did it earlier in the same game.
— Phil Beck (@philbeck10) February 2, 2020
Very very odd reaction from Djokovic. Some tennis players really need to take a look at themselves and realise a time violation is not the end of the world.
— Mark (@480_Mark) February 2, 2020
— Faranoosh (@cdninmel) February 2, 2020
Very strong second set from Dominic Thiem, but the double time violation at 15-30 and 15-40 when Djokovic was serving at 4-4 was a huge moment. Second one seemed to be pretty quick, umpire was waiting to jump on him
— Dav Aulak (@DavAulak) February 2, 2020
Yeah. It’s harsh but it’s the rules. We’ve seen other players adjust their routines to not take as much time 🤷🏼♂️ that’s Djokovic’s responsibility
— Pierre 🌕 (@nostaIgian) February 2, 2020
Djokovic is a disgrace for the way he treated the umpire for enforcing the time violation on him which was correct. #AusOpen
— 🅒🅕🅒 (@KineticKante) February 2, 2020
So after failing to serve in set time period, Djokovic tells the umpire sarcastically: 'Well done, you've made yourself famous..' How are tennis players allowed to openly insult the umpires? @thetennispodcast Other sports would come down hard for doing that.. #AusOpen
— Danny Rogers (@dannyrogers2001) February 2, 2020
Austrian capitalises on drama to surge ahead
Thiem made the most of the controversial moment to consolidate the break point and level the contest after serving out to claim the second set.
The drama appeared to be a lingering distraction for Djokovic in the third set as Thiem broke the 32-year-old in the opening game.
The Austrian had the momentum well and truly on his side and the wheels threatened to fall off for his Serbian opponent, when Thiem grabbed a double break to go 3-0 up.
Commentators Todd Woodbridge and Jim Courier expressed their concern for Djokovic, who lost six straight games since the controversial time penalty, before finally holding serve.
At 4-1 down in the third set, Djokovic received treatment from a doctor as his issues began piling up.
The World No.2 soon found himself in the unfamiliar position of being two sets to one down as well after Thiem clinched the third stanza, 6-2.