A fuming Novak Djokovic accused the chair umpire of “double standards” before advancing to his first Wimbledon semi-final in three years with a four-set dispatch of Kei Nishikori.
The three-time champion’s emotions boiled over on several occasions in a spicy 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 quarter-final victory over Japan’s former US Open finalist.
Djokovic had to overcome a series of rows with Carlos Ramos to book a 52nd on-court date on Friday with world No.1 Rafael Nadal.
His troubles began when he copped a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct for bouncing his racquet into the grass behind the baseline on tennis’s most famous centre court early in the third set.
He then let rip at Ramos for failing to sanction Nishikori for a similar act of frustration in the fourth set.
“Double standards, my friend. Double standards,” the steaming Serb said after approaching Ramos and pointing his finger angrily at the Portuguese judge.
“To be honest, I thought it was unnecessary to get a warning. I didn’t harm the grass. I knew how I threw the racquet,” Djokovic later explained.
“(Nishikori) even threw the racquet in the fourth set. (Ramos) said he didn’t see it.
“It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. In the midst of emotions in a tough match, it happens.”
Djokovic also appeared to feign throwing the ball at Ramos after being handed a time violation for exceeding the 25-second limit between points.
But the 12-times major winner regained his cool sufficiently enough to safely take his place in the semi-finals for the first time since snaring his third title at The All England Club in 2015.
Djokovic wasn’t the only player unhappy with officials on Wednesday night, with Britain’s Heather Watson labelling a line judge “pathetic” and a “snitch” after she was reported for swearing in her doubles match.
Watson and partner Tatjana Maria were docked a penalty point in their quarter-final loss against Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova after the official accused the Briton of foul language.
That followed an earlier warning for hitting the ball off the court in the 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 defeat.
Here's the moment where it happened. Watson polled the crowd to make sure they agreed with her account of events.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 11, 2018
Watson fiercely denied the language accusation, even getting the crowd to back her up, but it fell on deaf ears as umpire Kader Nouni imposed the penalty.
“I just went like that (hand clenched in front of face), and then said, ‘Stupid’, really loud,” Watson said.
“And then he has gone up and told the referee that I said ‘F*****g stupid’. And I asked everybody behind me out loud, ‘What did you hear me say?’. And everybody said, ‘Stupid’.
“I just think it’s really pathetic. It’s like there is no point in it. You have got people in all different languages swearing constantly all the time.
“I think it is a poor choice from him. It’s just unfair.
“It’s literally like a snitch running to the front of the class saying, ‘I heard her say this!’. I think it is so stupid.”