Novak Djokovic under fire over 'awful' act during Rafa Nadal clash

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here smashing the net with his racquet in an ugly outburst against Rafa Nadal.
Novak Djokovic smashed the net with his racquet in an ugly outburst against Rafa Nadal. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic has been condemned around the tennis world after an ugly moment in the fourth set of his quarter-final clash with Rafa Nadal at the French Open.

Nadal got the better of his long-time rival in Tuesday's blockbuster clash, advancing to the semi-finals with a 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (4) triumph that lasted over four hours.

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Djokovic cut a frustrated figure in the second game of the fourth set after falling in a two-sets-to-one hole.

After a number of balls hit the top of the net and refused to go over, Djokovic finally had enough and lashed out.

After missing a volley while leading 1-0 in the fourth, the Serbian star angrily smashed the net with his racquet.

Djokovic was loudly booed and jeered by fans in attendance at Court Philippe-Chatrier, while viewers watching on TV flocked to social media to express their anger.

"Djokovic smacks the net in anger after a missed volley and the Chatrier crowd was TOO ready to boo and jeer," tennis writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted.

"It's the most fun they'll have all night by the sounds of it."

Commentating on Eurosport, John McEnoroe defended Djokovic.

"Give the guy a break, at least he cares," he said in reaction to the crowd booing.

Some fans were also fuming that Djokovic didn't appear to get a warning from the chair umpire for the ugly outburst.

With the victory, Nadal moves a step closer to his 14th championship at the clay-court grand slam and 22nd major overall.

Novak Djokovic under fire from French Open crowd

It wasn't the only time the French Open crowd took aim at Djokovic - who never receives much fan support at Roland Garros.

The World No.1 was never going to have fans on his side against the 13-time French Open winner, and he copped it as soon as he walked out onto court on Tuesday.

Those in attendance loudly cheered fan favourite Nadal, while also raining down boos on Djokovic.

“No other player has had to deal with more adversity," McEnroe said.

"It is unfair, I’ve got to say that. This guy has turned lemons into lemonade more often than any player in the history of tennis, and if you don’t think it bothers him, you’re nuts.

"He is so mentally tough that he can deal with this and somehow channel that anger and frustration over what he feels is a lack of respect - and I feel it is too.”

Djokovic may have been rattled by the hostile atmosphere as he dropped the first set 2-6.

However the World No.1 managed to bounce back and take the second 6-4, before Nadal grabbed the third 6-2.

Despite leading in the early stages of the match, Nadal fell foul of the umpire and copped a time violation for taking too long between serves.

Rafa Nadal, pictured here in action against Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the French Open.
Rafa Nadal in action against Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the French Open. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

However McEnroe wasn't happy that Nadal wasn't pinged more often.

"He should be penalised," McEnroe said.

"If you are going to do it, do it, otherwise don't bother. It is like humouring everyone.

"It's a joke! He takes a look at the clock again… one. He’s edging it, isn’t he? Shouldn’t they have it at 15 seconds on the second serve? 10? Something?

"Or don’t bother. It’s like, you can take as much time as you want on the second serve. How long is this game? 12 minutes? Jeez."

The second set alone went for over an hour as the match went past midnight during the fourth set.

The 59th match in Nadal and Djokovic's storied rivalry was controversially scheduled for Tuesday's night session, meaning it didn't start until 8.45pm local time.

with agencies

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