Novak Djokovic screamed at the chair umpire before walking off the court in an angry outburst at the Italian Open on Tuesday.
The World No.1 completely lost his cool as rain in Rome held up his second-round match against Taylor Fritz.
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The Serbian, back in action after sitting out the Madrid Open last week, had taken the opening set 6-3 before moving a break ahead in the second to lead 5-4.
But Djokovic was left furious when he failed to serve out the match as Fritz rallied to level at 5-5.
Djokovic vented at the chair umpire that he hadn't suspended play yet as rain lashed the court.
"How much more do you want to play?" Djokovic screamed at the umpire.
"I asked you three times, you are not checking anything."
Djokovic then stormed into the court-side tunnel to escape the rain before the match was finally suspended.
Fans watching the action were highly critical of Djokovic's outburst, with some describing his treatment of the umpire as "unacceptable" and "disgusting".
That outburst by Djokovic is unacceptable, other players would have had a warning ! He should be ashamed of himself. Taylor deserves to win
— Lou Lou (@InglisLou) May 11, 2021
— HoudiniThomas (@HodinThomas) May 11, 2021
Loses his cool yet again.. he behaves like a spoiled child when he is displeased in court. Unacceptable.
— Denise Johnson (@dljohnsoncalif) May 11, 2021
How many more times is he going to ‘lose his cool’ and ‘take some lessons away’ from his outbursts?. Totally unacceptable behaviour
— Jo (@jo_chippingvale) May 11, 2021
Novaxx showing once again that's he's the biggest embarrassment to the sport!!!
— Ben Gray (@BenSkyWatcher1) May 11, 2021
However many more believed he was right to be angry due to the dangerous conditions.
Imagine if he hit a line judge with a water and clay laden ball. Could be lethal. Best they suspended it.
— RALB (@Breeno79) May 11, 2021
His rage towards the umpire is justified. It's been raining for a while quite heavily.
— LeoDaWeeb (@LeoDaWeeb) May 11, 2021
It’s ridiculous and dangerous that the umpire did not stop play earlier. Djokovic rage is more than justified. Can you imagine if he gets hurt?
— eduardomendesribas (@eduardomendesr5) May 11, 2021
Djokovic apologises to umpire for outburst
The match was halted for three hours before Djokovic secured a 6-3 7-6(5) victory. To his credit, he did apologise to the umpire when play resumed.
All the other men's matches for the day were cancelled.
Djokovic said he had been struggling with the court conditions before the players were sent off the court.
"It's not the first time or probably the last that I'm going to experience such conditions," Djokovic told Amazon Prime.
"And even with that much experience behind me I still get upset and lose my cool.
"But it's OK. At the end of the day these are great lessons - I will try and take away some important things from this day."
Djokovic was disqualified from last year's US Open after accidentally hitting a female line judge with a ball during his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
Chasing a sixth title in Rome, Djokovic will play the winner of the match between Britain's Cameron Norrie and Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the round of 16.
Davidovich Fokina pulled off an unexpected 6-4 7-6 (2) win over 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov and will meet British No.2 Norrie, who defeated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-4.
Home player Lorenzo Sonego celebrated his birthday by beating 14th seed Gael Monfils 6-4 5-7 6-4 in the first round, which was the Frenchman's first match since February 8 when he picked up a calf injury at the Australian Open.
Kei Nishikori was handed a walkover in his second-round match against 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
No.8 seed Diego Schwartzman was beaten 6-1 6-3 by Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who moves into the third round.
Ninth seed and home favourite Matteo Berrettini, who was runner-up in Madrid on Sunday, came from behind to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 6-4.
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