Novak Djokovic claimed a tennis fan was paralytically drunk during his Australian Open match – in a repeat of counterpart Nick Kyrgios' similar incident at Wimbledon.
Djokovic is playing at the Aussie Open for the first time since he was banned from participating in last year's competition due to his stance on the Covid vaccine. And his second round game against world No191 Enzo Couacaud was brought to an abrupt halt when Djokovic furiously approached umpire Fergus Murphy to complain about being heckled by a fan, who was 'drunk out his mind', in the Serb's eyes.
While remonstrating with Murphy to eject the culprit, against the backdrop of fans chanting his name, Djokovic raged: "The guy's drunk out of his mind. From the first point he's been provoking.
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"He just wants to get in my head. So I'm asking you, what are you going to do about it?"
"You heard him at least 10 times, I heard him 50 times. What are you going to do? Why don't you get security to get him out of the stadium?"
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And in the end, Djokovic's perseverance prevailed as four men donning "Where's Wally" outfits were removed from the arena. Their omission had the desired effect as Djokovic went onto to defeat Couacaud 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-0 to steamroll into the third round of the competition.
Djokovic's drama was reminiscent of Kyrgios' outburst aimed towards a fan at the Wimbledon final between the pair last year. During the heated battle which Djokovic won, Kyrgios accused Anna Palus of looking like "she's had about 700 drinks."
But unlike Djokovic, Kyrgios' accusations would have damning consequences, and Palus sued the tennis bad boy for defamation. As a result, Kyrgios issued a grovelling apology to the fan, and dedicated £20,000 to a charity of her choice, which happened to be the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, as part of the settlement.
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