Novak Djokovic “blasts media” has been a common theme in recent years and his latest gripe is that he’s the victim of a public lynching.
After the fifth game of his opening-round match against Carballes Baena at the Australian Open on Tuesday, Djokovic told the umpire that he needed to use the toilet before running off the court. TV announcers Mark Petchey and John Fitzgerald questioned Djokovic’s need to use the toilet so early in the match, alleging that the tennis star “pulled rank” and left the court after his bathroom request was seemingly denied.
Novak Djokovic asks to the leave the court, the umpire says, Novak leaves anyway! 🤨
🖥️ #AusOpen LIVE | https://t.co/80XjQpwKWh#9WWOS #Tennis pic.twitter.com/bl5yUxyAvg
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 17, 2023
A social media post by EuroSport later shared a video of the incident with the caption, “Novak Djokovic defied the umpire to take an early bathroom break in his first match at the Australian Open.” The social media post combined with Petchey and Fitzgerald questioning his oddly timed bathroom break prompted Djokovic to lash out at the media, demanding a public apology.
“The majority of people who follow tennis will never hear about it,” Djokovic said according to Tennis Majors. “They will still think that I defied the umpire, went to the toilet and that I didn’t follow the rules. So, again I am portrayed as the one who behaves how he wants, which is completely untrue. I explained in my social media post exactly what happened.”
According to Djokovic, the social media video of him requesting to use the toilet conveniently doesn’t show the umpire granting his request, allowing the announcers to wonder if he pulled rank.
“Again, I am publicly asking a question: why didn’t the ATP or the Grand Slam come out and explain the situation, when they can see that the media are publicly lynching me? This has been happening continuously, there have been many situations like this one – but in the end nothing, it’s all the same. At the end of the day, if we are members of this Tour, surely there has to be some responsibility towards the players, some sort of protection. But no, ‘you do what you want and roast him as much as you want in media, while we remain silent.”
Djokovic also responded to EuroSport in a series of Instagram stories, urging the outlet to check their information before posting something “judgmental and wrong.”
“Chair umpire allowed me to go to toilet but she told me I don’t have toilet break, just change over break,” Djokovic wrote. “So she told me (you didn’t capture that with camera) I had to hurry up. When I almost exited the court she called me (I didn’t hear) and it was to tell me that toilet was on the opposite side of the court.
“I found one where I went also, and I had to be quick because of the time. I didn’t ‘defy’ her or the rules. She gave me permission and told me to be quick. Next time be mindful with what you post. You have responsibility towards many sport fans that follow your page @eurosport.”
Djokovic is attempting to win his record-extending 10th Australian Open title after missing last year’s tournament when he was deported by the country for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.