Novak Djokovic caught in 'ridiculous' post-Wimbledon drama with Mirra Andreeva

Fans were in uproar after Novak Djokovic's petulant racquet smash earned an equal penalty to that of Mirra Andreeva.

Novak Djokovic and Mirra Andreeva.
Novak Djokovic and Mirra Andreeva copped the same financial penalty for racquet abuse at Wimbledon, prompting a major outcry among tennis fans. Pictures: Getty Images

Tennis fans have called for a major change after Novak Djokovic's memorable racquet smash in the fifth set of the Wimbledon final against Carlos Alcaraz resulted in a paltry $8000 fine - the same penalty handed to teenage world No.66 Mirra Andreeva. Djokovic lost his cool after dropping a service game to Alcaraz, with the Spaniard going on to finally break the Serbian's stranglehold on the famous grasscourt tournament.

A frustrated Djokovic destroyed his racquet on the net post in his losing effort against Alcaraz, attracting a reprimand from the chair umpire in the process. It came after an earlier frosty confrontation with the official after being handed a time violation.

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His racquet smash attracted the same penalty handed to Andreeva, which cost the 16-year-old a point penalty in her round of 16 defeat at the hands of Madison Keys in an enthralling three-set showdown. Her penalty proved far more controversial however, with her racquet hitting the ground rather than the net post, in what looks to be a significantly less deliberate motion in comparison to Djokovic's clear eruption.

Her equipment didn't break in that incident, but nonetheless attracted the same $8000 penalty in the wake of the tournament. Many tennis fans considered it grossly unfair, particularly considering the financial penalty would be substantially more damaging in comparison to Djokovic, whose already significant wealth meant it would not have nearly the same impact.

Many fans took to social media to point out the discrepancy. A common argument was that while both incidents were worthy of some sort of sanction, Djokovic would not be incentivised to alter his on-court behaviour given how little an $8000 fine would affect him in comparison to Andreeva.

"Mirra’s fine is utterly ridiculous," one fan posted on Twitter. "It’s clear to see there was no intent with what she did.

"Novak’s was deliberate and the fine is correct based on the rules. However, 8k is no deterrent to a man who makes 10’s of millions a year. That rule definitely needs changing."

Others suggested Djokovic, 36, had no incentive to change his behaviour, now approaching the latter stages of his career and with enough money accumulated to see off all but the largest of financial penalties. Andreeva on the other hand, despite being ranked within the top 100, has nowhere near the accumulated wealth and, at 16, has the opportunity to take the incident to heart at an early stage of her tennis career.

"Mirra is young enough to learn the lesson if the penalty is pitched right," another fan argued. "Djokovic is well past that point and can pay any fine without even noticing. Suspended suspension penalty would have been better."

Stark difference between Djokovic and Andreeva incidents

Djokovic allowed his frustrations to get the better of him after failing to break Alcaraz and then losing his own service game during the decisive fifth set of Sunday's thrilling final on Centre Court. He was immediately hit with a code violation by chair umpire Fergus Murphy, who had earlier pulled up the Serbian star for a time violation.

The 20-year-old Alcaraz took full advantage to seal a famous victory after four hours and 42 minutes, winning 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4. In the process, the Spaniard denied his illustrious opponent a 24th grand slam title and an eighth at Wimbledon, retaining the World No.1 ranking in the process.

In Andreeva's case, at third set at 2-5 and game point, Keys got her way back to deuce. Andreeva was sliding across the grass at the All England Club when she lost balance.

In the process of trying to stabilise herself, Andreeva's foot got caught on the grass. Her racquet then went above her head. She then let go of the racquet and it hit the ground with little force.

Chair umpire Julie Kjendlie made the huge call and deemed it a racquet toss, and since she had already warned Andreeva, the Russian was docked a point to hand Keys match point. Andreeva was fuming and argued with the chair umpire that she had lost balance and let go of the racquet.

Mirra Andreeva looks down in frustration.
Mirra Andreeva was left exasperated after a controversial point penalty against her in the Wimbledon point penalty. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“I slipped. I didn’t do it. I slid and I fell,” Andreeva said to Kjendlie. The 16-year-old was fuming.

“No it’s (the) wrong decision. Do you understand what you are doing? Do you understand what you are doing?”

“I didn’t throw the racquet, I slid. Yes I did slip, I didn’t throw the racquet. I slid. It’s the wrong decision. I didn’t throw the racquet, I fell. I slid and then I fell.”

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