Novak Djokovic slams 'judgemental' act amid Australian Open furore

The nine-time Australian Open champion is not happy about the media coverage of the contentious incident.

Novak Djokovic has hit back at suggestions he defied the chair umpire by taking an unsanctioned toilet break at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty/Ch9
Novak Djokovic has hit back at suggestions he defied the chair umpire by taking an unsanctioned toilet break at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty/Ch9

Novak Djokovic has hit out at the media coverage of his controversial toilet break in the first round of the Australian Open, labelling it "judgemental and wrong". The 21-time grand slam champion turned heads in his opening round win against Roberto Carballes Baena when he seemingly ducked off for an unsanctioned bathroom break after just five games of the opening set.

“He needs to go to the toilet? After five games?” Aussie tennis great John Fitzgerald said on Nine's coverage. Fellow Aussie legend Mark Woodforde added: “Well I think he’s actually just pulled rank there as well. I think the official was trying to pull him back.”

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Fitzgerald replied: “He’s just run off the court. He’s gone off without permission, it seems. I mean, 3-2 in the first set?”

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Eurosport seemed to agree with the Aussie commentators after tweeting: “Novak Djokovic defied the umpire to take an early bathroom break in his first match at the Australian Open (eyes emoji)." Players generally have to wait until after a set finishes before taking a toilet break, with Djokovic having to hurry back so he didn't get timed out before his opponent's serve.

However, Djokovic on Thursday took exception to the Eurosport tweet after insisting that he did not defy the umpire by taking a toilet break without permission. In a scathing post on social media, the nine-time Australian Open champion told the media organisation to get its facts right, before offering fans an explanation about what actually happened.

Novak Djokovic explains toilet incident

“Eurosport please get your informations checked before you post something judgmental and wrong," he said on an Instagram story. Adding in a follow-up post, he explained: “Chair umpire allowed me to go to toilet but she told me I don’t have toilet break, just change over break.

“So she told me (you didn’t capture that with camera) I had to hurry up. When I almost exited the court she called me (I didn’t hear) and it was to tell me that toilet was on the opposite side of the court.

“I found one where I went also, and I had to be quick because of the time. I didn’t “defy” her or the rules. She gave me permission and told me to be quick. Next time be mindful with what you post. You have responsibility towards many sport fans that follow your page @eurosport.”

Novak Djokovic caused confusion when he tried to grab the attention of the Australian Open chair umpire (pictured right) for a bathroom break with only moments left for start of play to continue. (Images: Channel Nine)
Novak Djokovic caused confusion when he tried to grab the attention of the Australian Open chair umpire (pictured right) for a bathroom break with only moments left for start of play to continue. (Images: Channel Nine)

Djokovic's return to Rod Laver Arena was a triumphant one and fans stayed past 12.30am local time to cheer on the nine-time Australian Open champion. During the match, chants of 'Novak' erupted in the second set. Fans stuck around to hear Djokovic speak and he was nothing but thankful for the locals that stayed upon his return.

"Unbelievable atmosphere, thank you for staying late everybody. And thank you for giving me such a welcoming reception, which I can only dream of," Djokovic said in his post-match interview.

"I am very happy to be back in Australia and back here on the court, where I've had the most success in my career. This court is the most special court in my life."

The 35-year-old returns to Rod Laver Arena on Thursday night to take on little-known Frenchman, Enzo Couacaud. Djokovic is gunning for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title at this year's grand slam, which would draw him level with Rafael Nadal on 22 career grand slam titles.

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