World No.1 Novak Djokovic has let fly up at a contingent of Frances Tiafoe’s fans after the American tested the champion.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic has let fly up at a contingent of Frances Tiafoe’s fans after the American youngster pushed the defending champion in a tense second set on Rod Laver Arena.
Having run away with the opening set, Djokovic was pushed to a tie-break in the second which he eventually lost but not before ripping into a group of Tiafoe supporters.
“There happened to be two people right above our commentary box that are barking loudly for Tiafoe, and Novak came at them specifically after that point,” Jim Courier said on Nine’s coverage.
“Two guys who might be enjoying the taste of an adult beverage or two.”
Aussie tennis legend Todd Woodbridge added: “It’s a fascinating insight into the Djokovic psychology with fans.
“He utilises the fans positively and he also draws upon the ones that don’t barrack for him as an energy to prove them wrong. It’s quite incredible.”
Courier adds that Novak used a similar tactic during last year’s Australian Open final, where he had to claw his way from behind against Dominic Thiem in a five-setter.
“Last year when he won the title, he had someone directly across from his players’ box who was giving him some needle during the match, and it was a tough match,” he said.
“When he won his eighth title, he didn’t look up in triumph to his coach and his team, he looked in spite to the person to the person who was giving him that problem.
“He was defiant. Defiance is a big part of his personality.”
In the break between the first and second sets, a Rod Laver Arena employee came over and seemingly scolded the young fans, with one of them wearing a ‘Big Foe’ t-shirt.
“These gentlemen are getting schooled in the ethics of being a tennis fan and educated about how and when they’re supposed to react,” Courier said.
“The one to the left, his white t-shirt said ‘Big Foe’, that is Frances’ nickname.”
“I don’t think they were behaving horrendously, I think they were supporting loudly and hopefully he’s not teaching them how to support,” Woodbridge added.