Novak Djokovic has been booed at the US Open after retiring hurt in his fourth round clash with Stan Wawrinka.
In disgraceful scenes at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, boos rang out around the arena as Djokovic called it quits down 1-2 in the third set and trailing two sets to love.
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Wawrinka had taken the opening two sets 7-5, 6-4 and was eyeing a shock upset when Djokovic pulled the pin.
Djokovic appeared to be hampered by a shoulder injury throughout the match, calling for the trainer after the opening two sets.
The World No.1 was also booed as he left the court, before cheers drowned out the jeers.
He gave spectators a sarcastic thumbs up as he departed.
Social media exploded with condemnation for those who booed, with some describing the crowd as “shameful” and “disgusting”.
Question Djokovic's form but don't question his toughness at this stage of his career. He has proven his resilience repeatedly: best recent example the 2019 Wimbledon final. He didn't stop tonight simply because he was losing.— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) September 2, 2019
Holy cow, absolutely shameful for the crowd in New York to boo Novak Djokovic as he walks off court. Novak is clearly dealing with something, and he obviously was not gonna finish that last set playing at a high level. That is worse than Luck getting booed. #USOpen— Jacob Kisamore (@mr_irrelevantJK) September 2, 2019
Sometimes that New York crowd at the #USOpen is embarrassing.— Dave (@tonytanti1) September 2, 2019
Djokovic guts out 2+ sets with an injury that's been bugging him for ages and gets booed. Ridiculous.
Disappointed by the NYC crowd booing Djokovic off the court. Clearly he’s injured and had to retire 😔😔— Omar Safi (@BROMAR1991) September 2, 2019
#1 player in the world
One of the greatest of all time—hands down.
Deserves better than that from the audience...#USOpen
this US Open crowd is trash— Dorbin Hoobler (@TrillGrandpa) September 2, 2019
Djokovic retires 2 sets down to Wawrinka. #USOpen crowd— Greg Couch (@gregcouch) September 2, 2019
boos him. Something was clearly wrong with Djokobic the whole match. He doesn't deserve the negative label he's getting. Open is all Nadal's now
Unfair treatment of Novak Djokovic by the #USOpen crowd. Defending champ and #1 in the world deserves more benefit of the doubt. 👍🏼— CatsVanBags (@CatsVanBags) September 2, 2019
Oh. The curse of the US Open. The defending champion bows out. Djokovic seemed too unfocused. Shame on NY crowd to boo him. He has always been a fighter. #USOpen— elavasam (@elavasam) September 2, 2019
Wawrinka continues crazy run against No.1s
Remarkably, Wawrinka now has the second-most wins against World No.1’s at grand slam level with five.
“It's never the way you want to finish the match,” said Wawrinka, who will face No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals.
“I feel sorry for Novak.”
It is Djokovic's earliest exit at the New York grand slam since a third-round loss in 2006 to Australia's Lleyton Hewitt.
He had won 36 of his past 37 Grand Slam matches, and four of the last five major titles, in one of the most dominant stretches this sport has seen.
But he began complaining about his shoulder in the second round.
Djokovic won his next match Friday, looking good, and declared himself mostly pain-free, although he refused to disclose any details of the injury or what type of treatment he had received.
His bid for a fourth US Open championship and 17th slam trophy all suddenly dissipated at the conclusion of what for him amounted to a listless and ineffective effort.
Against Wawrinka, a three-time major champion himself, Djokovic never quite had the usual verve on his shots or range on his formidable service returns.
He was out of sorts on all manner of shots, accumulating 30 unforced errors and only 12 winners through the first two sets.
He managed to lead 3-0 and 4-1 in the second set, but that was just about all he had in him.
When that set ended, Djokovic had a trainer on for a massage, but soon thereafter, his title defence was over.
Djokovic entered the night with a 19-5 head-to-head edge against Wawrinka across their careers.
This, though, was their first meeting since the 2016 US Open final, won by Wawrinka.
It scuttles the possibility of a semi-final between Djokovic and 20-time major champion Roger Federer, which would have been a rematch of their historic Wimbledon final in July.