Novak Djokovic won in straight sets against Cameron Norrie at the Italian Open, but things got heated when Norrie accidentally hit the back of the world No. 1’s leg with a smash.
At the beginning of the second set, Norrie apologized immediately after the incident occurred. However, Djokovic did not react positively and instead glared at his opponent.
Djokovic continued to gaze as he made his way towards the net and then verbally responded to the British No. 1’s remarks.
“I suppose it could be said that he did not intentionally hit me,” Djokovic stated to journalists following his 6-3 6-4 victory in the 16th round.
“I am unsure if he noticed me. You can always determine the player’s location on the court.”
Djokovic stated that he was not entirely impressed with Norrie’s behavior throughout the match.
Djokovic, who is 35 years old, stated that it was not just one factor, but possibly a combination of various factors.
“He was doing all the things that we’re allowed. 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 first game.
“We, as players, are aware that certain behaviors in the locker room are not in line with fair play and how we should treat one another. However, despite this knowledge, it is still permitted.”
Despite his displeasure with Norrie, Djokovic remained focused on his performance and effortlessly secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.
“I retaliated to his provocation by bringing the fire. I refuse to let someone’s disrespectful behavior go unchecked. I will always stand up for myself,” stated the 22-time champion of the grand slam.
“I have had a great relationship with Cameron during all the years he has been on tour. We have practiced together and he is a very pleasant person off the court. Therefore, I am confused by his behavior on the court.”
A spokesperson for Norrie informed CNN that the 13th ranked player had no response to Djokovic’s statements after the game.