Novak Djokovic dragged into ugly war-of-words with rival at Roland Garros

A rival has reignited his ugly war-of-words with Novak Djokovic in Paris.

Novak Djokovic looks on during a match and Cameron Norrie hits Djokovic with an overhead smash.
Cameron Norrie has hit back at Novak Djokovic (pictured right) at Roland Garros after their tense Italian Open clash. (Images: Getty Images/@TennisTV)

Cameron Norrie has taken a dig at 22-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic for his behaviour a week after their Italian Open clash. Both Djokovic and Norrie won their opening Roland Garros matches this week with the latter battled through his epic encounter in five-sets.

However, Norrie doesn't appear to have let go of the hard feelings following his clash with Djokovic in Rome last week. Djokovic defeated Norrie on his way to the quarter-final in Rome, but the match became intense when the British player hit an overhead smash into the Serbian at the net.

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Djokovic was forced to dig the ball out and hit a high-looping shot that didn't go past the service box. The 36-year-old then conceded the point as he turned his back to avoid facing Norrie's smash.

Unfortunately, Norrie's smash hit the left leg of Djokovic while his back was turned. Djokovic appeared to be furious as he swung around and stared down Norrie at the net.

Norrie apologised after the point, but Djokovic let rip at the British No.1 after the match in his press conference. "I did watch the replay when he hit me," Djokovic said after the match in Rome.

"Maybe you could say he didn't hit me deliberately. I don't know if he saw me. Peripherally you can always see where the player is positioned on the court. The ball was super slow and super close to the net. I just turned around because the point was over for me.

"It was not so much maybe about that, it was maybe about that, but it was maybe a combination of things. From the very beginning he was doing all the things that were allowed.

Novak Djokovic gestures to the crowd at the French Open.
Cameron Norrie has reignited his feud with Novak Djokovic (pictured) at Roland Garros. (Photo by Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty Images) (Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

"He's allowed to take a medical timeout. He's allowed to hit a player. He's allowed to say 'come on' in the face more or less every single point from basically the first game.

"Those are the things that we players know in the locker room it's not fair play, it's not how we treat each other. But, again it's allowed so..."

Cameron Norrie hits back at Djokovic at Roland Garros

While Norrie stayed relatively quiet over the incident in defeat, the 27-year-old has fired back at the grand slam champion since his arrival in Paris. After winning his first round match at Roland Garros, Norrie took aim at Djokovic and claimed the Serbian never apologised for holding up the match in Rome.

“He wanted some more time on the physio bed and the match was scheduled for 11am,” Norrie said at the French Ope. “And we walked out maybe 11.12am, 11.13am. I don’t think he saw any problem with that.

"He never said anything to me. And he never apologised. I asked: ‘Was that OK to do that?’ They [the officials] said: ‘Yeah, it is within the rules.’ After 15 minutes, he gets defaulted. I said: ‘OK,’ and I continued warming up.

“I’ve never seen that before from any player. Regardless if it’s a tennis match or not, you turn up on time for whatever it is. I wanted to win, it was one of those matches where he’s one of the best players in the world and I wanted to play my best and compete as hard as I could.

“I didn’t think I was in his face at all. I think, if anyone knows me, I’m pretty vocal in some matches. It was a regular tennis match for me."

Djokovic has yet to respond to Norrie's latest comments about why he was late to the match. Regardless, Djokovic was clearly frustrated with Norrie on the court with a slightly cold handshake with his opponent after the victory in Rome.

Norrie has reignited the feud as Djokovic seeks another French Open title to make him the all-time leader for men's tennis in grand slams. Djokovic will face Martin Fucsovics in the second round.

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