Australian Open fans booted out of Djokovic game halfway through in new lockdown

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Australian Open fans were kicked out of Novak Djokovic’s third-round match midway through – because of a snap Covid-19 lockdown being put in force.

The Serbian’ fixture against Taylor Fritz – which started at 8:30pm local time – was halted at 11:30pm.

This was due to Melbourne enforcing the state of Victoria’s Covid-19 regulation that all people must be in their homes by 11:59pm for the start of a five-day lockdown to prevent the spread of a local strain.

It saw the Rod Laver Arena fill with boos from supporters as they wanted to see how the thrilling encounter would end.

The American has just pulled back to match Djokovic’s two sets with a 6-3 6-4 when the umpire made the announcement.

Melbourne authorities announced the five-day lockdown on Thursday amid the emergence of a UK variant of the disease in Victoria.

With fans having attend the Grand Slam tournament throughout the week, it was hoped spectators for Djokovic’s match would be exempt.

But this did not proved to be the case, with the Serbian having to play out to a 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2.

State Premier Dan Andrews, speaking after the strain originated from outer Melbourne this week, said the snap lockdown was announced as the disease is “moving at a velocity that hasn't been seen before”.

He hoped the five-day lockdown would be a “circuit breaker”, adding: “If we wait to be absolutely certain we have the problem it will be too late.”

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  • Djokovic will take on Milos Raonic in the fourth round of the tournament on Sunday – but there is doubt after picking up an injury scare against Fritz.

    The 33-year-old picked up a torn stomach muscle during the marathon match with the American.

    Speaking after the third-round clash, the World No.1 said: “I really don't know, my friend. Right now, I know it's a tear, definitely, of the muscle.

    “So I don't know if I'll manage to recover from that in less than two days.”

    Djokovic’s spectators are not the first to be kicked out of the stands this week as one woman was escorted from Rafael Nadal’s second-round clash following a vile rant at the Spaniard.

    While the heat in Australia also got to one ball girl, who collapsed on the side of the court earlier this week.

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    • Novak Djokovic
    • Tennis

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