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Is there a more risible way of spending your time than by listening to Novak Djokovic whining his way through a post-match press conference?

There he was on Tuesday pontificating about Cam Norrie and all that's bad about the British No.1 when he might just as easily have been talking about himself. The moment that stirred the Serb's ire came early in the second set between the two men at the Italian Open in Rome. During a rally, Djokovic spooned a ball into the air, then turned his back on it as it travelled meekly over the net. Norrie was left with a simple smash which bounced off the back of Djokovic's leg whereupon the world No.2 became all plooky teenager. From The Fixture's vantage point, the only person who looked guilty of a lack of sportsmanship in the pair's match was Djokovic. Anything could have happened with Norrie's return – his head was up, his neck was arched and Djokovic wasn't doing anything that could be considered conventional in the circumstances. Indeed, Djokovic's contemptuous response could just as easily have been construed as gamesmanship, an attempt at saying “well, you can hardly miss that, can you?”

Norrie waved a hand apologetically but his opponent was in no mood to accept his apology staring him down repeatedly for the rest of their match.

“It was maybe a combination of things, from the very beginning he was doing things that were allowed. He’s allowed to take a medical timeout, he’s allowed to hit a player. He’s allowed to shout ‘Come on’ in the face on more or less every single point…” said Djokovic, who might just be smarting a little from being usurped as world No.1 by Carlos Alcaraz, earlier this week.

On he went: “It’s not fair play, it’s not how we treat each other. But it is allowed. I got along with Cameron really well since he’s been on tour. He’s a very nice guy off the court so I don’t understand this kind of attitude, to be honest. But it is what it is. He brought the fire, and I responded. I’m not going to allow someone behaving like that to bend my head. I’m going to respond.”

It sparked a volley of predictable criticism directed Norrie's way on social media soon afterwards from the usual man-babies who seem to spend their entire lives defending the virtues of whichever global superstar they have decided to hitch their skirts for.


The internet is like that, of course, but it's also pretty good for keeping stock of every time hypocrisy requires calling out. And, boy, has Novak Djokovic displayed his fair share of hypocrisy.

There's that time he was criticised for taking a medical timeout in the 2020 Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem during a point in the match when it appeared that the Austrian was set to gain control of proceedings.

Then there was that time when Stan Wawrinka complained to the umpire about the length of the break Djokovic was taking in the middle of the 2016 US Open final.

“Complete abuse of the rules,” declared Patrick McEnroe who was commentating for US television at the time.

In 2008, Andy Roddick joked that he thought Djokovic must have SARS and bird flu while Andy Murray noted, during the Australian Open final of 2015, that he takes breaks all the time.

Perhaps if he had employed a well-timed break he might not have lost his very next match in Rome to Holger Rune, another fiery encounter in which he directed a series of expletives to his coach Goran Ivanisevic as the paired rowed.

Tennis commentator Rennae Stubbs addressed Djokovic's lack of sportsmanship last year saying: “Novak is not a great sport on court, he's been defaulted, broken racquets etc. among other things. He has outbursts on court. Smashed the net at the French Open, threw his racquet that almost hit a ball kid in Serbia.” Or, indeed, that time he was disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball he batted away in frustration.

Of course, The Fixture hasn't even mentioned the pantomime around the party he organised at a nightclub in Belgrade at the height of Covid nor the farrago about his entry in Australia last year when he revealed he had refused to isolate immediately after testing for the virus prior to the Australian Open last year.

So, Novak, dry your eyes, there's a good chap.