Novak Djokovic clashed with the US Open crowd and almost hit some ball kids after
he swiped a loose ball towards them in his US Open quarterfinal
Men’s number one player Novak Djokovic renewed his battle against the US Open
crowd during his quarterfinal victory, and almost recreated the incident that got him
thrown out of last year’s tournament.
The three-time winner defeated Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the
semifinals and continue his quest for the calendar slam.
But he received little adulation from the New York crowd, with whom he has clashed
During the first set, the crowd cheered loudly every time Djokovic over hit a shot and
it clearly rattled the three-time US Open winner.
Annoyed by the lack of support, Djokovic raised his finger to his ear during the first
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Having saved a breakpoint, the Serbian stood and stared into the crowd. While it is
unclear if he was directing his anger at one particular crowd member or not, his gaze
appeared to stay in the same place for a while.
This was not the only incident during the first set as later in the very same game,
Djokovic pumped his arms up and down, signaling he wanted more noise from the
Later, having recovered from a set down to tie the match, he again pushed his ear
forward, signaling he was still not happy with the amount of support he was
It was a difficult evening for Djokovic who again had to bounce back from losing the
first set, just as he did in his last two matches. After tying the match at one set all,
Djokovic cruised to victory, winning the next three sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
The Serbian is aiming to become the first male player to win all Grand Slams in a year
since 1969, but an incident in the fourth set almost jeopardized that.
In a moment of frustration, Djokovic hit an out-of-play ball across the court towards
the umpire’s chair, narrowly missing a group of ball kids stood at the side of the
Had the ball hit either the ball kids or the umpire, Djokovic would likely have suffered
the same fate he did at the 2020 US Open when he booted out of the tournament for
hitting a line judge with an errant swipe.
Four-time US Open champion, John McEnroe, who was providing commentary on
the match for ESPN referenced the incident and told Djokovic to “get his act
“Be a little bit careful smacking tennis balls around in random directions,” ESPN
commentator Chris Fowler added.
Djokovic will face Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, who defeated him in Tokyo,
in the semifinals on Friday.