Monday, June 17, 2024

Novak Djokovic left furious after umpire row in shock Indian Wells defeat

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World number one Novak Djokovic crashed out of Indian Wells in round three following a shock defeat to 20-year-old lucky loser Luca Nardi.

The Italian was ranked 123 in the world and had been knocked out in qualifying, only reaching the main draw because of the withdrawal of another player.

Nardi played well, hitting 34 winners to beat the 24-time Grand Slam champion 6-4 3-6 6-3, and collapsing to the ground with his hands over his face when he served up a final ace to win the match.

Djokovic has yet to win a tournament this year and took an issue with one of the calls from the umpire during the match.

The Serbian believed Nardi had stopped while playing a point and was urging the umpire to call a hindrance.

Nardi had come to a standstill, and played the ball late, believing it would bounce out, but it just dropped inside the court, and Djokovic was put off by his opponent, stopping himself a couple of shots afterwards.

Djokovic said: “Just because he stopped doesn’t mean the point stopped? What are you talking about.”

He added: “You saw the reaction, he stopped, he literally stopped and that’s it. It confused me completely. I stopped as well.

“How can you not make that judgement? Are you blagging me or not?”

The umpire calmly replied: “Just because he stands there and doesn’t continue to play – that’s not grounds for a hindrance

“I understand your point but for me that’s not a hindrance. My point is that’s not grounds for him to lose the point.

“If he would have come up saying ‘out’ or pointing out or something along those lines then yes I would agree with you 100 percent, but since he didn’t do anything to actually stop the point…”

Nardi is the lowest-ranked player to beat Djokovic at ATP Masters 1,000 or Grand Slam level, and said afterwards that it was “crazy”.

While Djokovic said: “No titles this year. That’s not something I’m used to.

“I was starting the season most of my career with a Grand Slam win or Dubai win. It’s fine. It’s part of the sport. You just have to accept it. Some you win, some you lose.

“Hopefully I’ll win some more and still keep going. I guess every trophy that eventually comes my way is going to be great, to break the kind of negative cycle a little bit I’m having in the last three, four tournaments where I haven’t really been close to my best.”

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