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Novak Djokovic challenges Australian Open fan in fiery exchange: Come here and tell me to my face

Djokovic challenges drunken fan to face him on court, shakes off row to edge past Popyrin at Australian Open.

During a tense match at the Rod Laver Arena, a spectator, who appeared to be intoxicated, directed a series of insults at Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic. The score was tied at 2-2 in the fourth set when the heckling began. Djokovic, visibly irritated, eventually responded to the fan's taunts by challenging them to come down onto the court and confront him face to face.

In a heated moment, the 36-year-old athlete called out the fan, stating, "If you are so brave to say this to me from the stands, come here and say it to my face." Despite acknowledging that people have the freedom to behave as they wish, Djokovic made it clear that there are limits to acceptable behavior, especially towards players.

Following the match, Djokovic addressed the incident, suggesting that the fan may have had too much to drink. He expressed his frustration but also noted that he had never before stopped a match to request the removal of a spectator. Despite the row with the fan, Djokovic managed to maintain his composure and secure a victory over his opponent, Alexei Popyrin.

Throughout his career, Djokovic has faced criticism and negative reactions from crowds, particularly in the aftermath of his disqualification from the 2020 US Open. However, in this instance, the audience at the Rod Laver Arena appeared to be on his side, booing the unruly fan for their disruptive behavior.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner's journey to win a record ninth title in Melbourne has been challenging, as evidenced by his tough matches in the early rounds. After a close call in the first round against 18-year-old Dino Prizmic, Djokovic faced a similar challenge in his match against Popyrin. Despite a setback in the second set, Djokovic raised his game and ultimately secured a hard-fought victory.

Looking ahead, Djokovic is set to face No.30 seed Tomas Etcheverry in the next round as he strives to claim his 25th Major title. Despite the distractions and challenges, Djokovic remains focused on his goal of achieving unprecedented success in the world of tennis.

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