Novak Djokovic on course for 24th grand slam
Novak Djokovic was left furious with one of his own fans during his US Open quarter-final victory over Taylor Fritz on Tuesday night. The Serb breezed into the last four with a straight-sets win over Fritz, who fought hard but was ultimately nowhere near the level required to pull off a huge upset.
Djokovic made light work of Fritz in the first and second sets but was left frustrated in the third when one of his fans distracted him by shouting during a point. The 36-year-old furiously snapped back in the direction of the fan before pointing to his box and telling them to leave.
Two people were then spotted heading for the exits before Djokovic recovered to wrap up the set and complete a routine win over Fritz. He later revealed that he asked his friends to ‘have a chat’ with the fan in question, who was sat alongside them in the stands.
“Yeah, he did,” said Djokovic when asked if the fan’s shouting distracted him. “He was actually in the box where some of my friends were. I don’t know who the guy was, but yeah, I was pretty annoyed by him at that point. I was communicating with my friends to have a little chat with him.”
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Djokovic went on to explain that although he knows that fans making noise is simply a part of the sport, especially when playing at the highest level, he was left particularly annoyed on this occasion and felt compelled to take action.
“Sometimes you react, but most of the time you don’t,” he added. “I speak for myself. Obviously there is whatever per cent of the time you don’t react. People speak, they move around. You’ve got to be ready for that, particularly in the US Open, especially in the night sessions.
“It just, you know, that’s part of it. It’s part of the sport, and I don’t, you know, mostly I don’t mind it, but in those important moments when you’re all of a sudden under a lot of stress and you’re facing a break point and then all of a sudden everything annoys you and distracts you, so then you react.
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“That’s, again, the heat of the moment and playing on the highest level. I’m actually glad the crowd wants to get into it, because it means that the match is interesting, that they want to be part of it, that they’re having fun. At the end of the day, they pay tickets to come and watch you play, so we try to put on a show and perform for them so they go back home satisfied that they have been here and enjoyed their day.
“Sometimes you might have an interaction with the player, you know, like this guy today, I’m sorry for him, but he was really annoying at that point. And that’s it, you know, it happens.”
Djokovic will go up against home favourite Ben Shelton in the US Open semi-finals on Friday, with the Serb chasing his fourth title at Flushing Meadows. He is likely to face Carlos Alcaraz if he reaches the final in a repeat of their earlier showdown at Wimbledon, which saw the Spaniard come out on top.
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