‘What happened to me at the US Open could have happened to Tsitsipas’ – Djokovic on third-round chaos versus Kyrgios

The 20-time Grand Slam champion had a couple of words of advice for the Greek

Stefanos Tsitsipas Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during his third round match against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Novak Djokovic’s disqualification from the US Open has gone down in infamy – and when he saw Stefanos Tsitsipas hit a ball into the crowd in utter frustration against Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon third round, he was reminded of that unsavoury incident.

The former world No 1 has warned the Greek that he was simply fortunate that the ball didn’t hit a person – resulting in his own disqualification.

“There are players whose attitude provokes you or irritate you,” Djokovic admitted. “And there are opponents who don’t make you feel that way. This is an individual sport, we are all different, and it is relative what is good and what is not, because there are different perspectives on everything that has happened in their match.

“What happened to me at the US Open almost happened to Tsitsipas. He was lucky because he did not hit anyone directly in the crowd although the ball hit the wall and then hit someone in the crowd because he hit the ball really hard.

Djokovic 2020 US Open Disqualified
Djokovic after hitting a line judge with the ball at the US Open in 2020 (Panoramic)

“I had that situation in the past, and I know how frustrating it can get on the court. On the other hand, I am ashamed and I always regret when I make a mistake like that and I apologise to the world because I know that that sort of behaviour is not appropriate. I hope that Tsitsipas himself realises it’s a mistake and that he was very lucky, risking to hurt someone and to be disqualified from the match.”

Djokovic: I’ve behaved badly and had emotional outbursts

Tsitsipas received a point penalty for his behaviour, while Kyrgios got a warning for the use of audible obscenity.

And the Serb dismissed the idea that any attention on the sport of tennis was positive, regardless of how controversial.

“There are people who say that everything that attracts attention to this sport is good, but I can’t agree with that fully,” he said. “There are sport values and behaviour that us as their colleagues want to see on the court. I was disqualified two years ago when I hit the line judge with the ball, so I can’t talk like someone who has never done anything bad on the court, like someone who has never broken a racquet.

“On the contrary, a lot of times I have behaved badly and unsportsmanlike in terms of emotional outbursts, but I have always tried to behave in a sporting manner and with respect towards my opponents.”

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