“It is Emotional For These Guys”: Tennis Legend Defends Novak Djokovic’s Angry Outburst at French Open 2021

Published 06/10/2021, 7:50 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his quarter final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Novak Djokovic kept his head as he cruised the opening two sets against Italian Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-final at Roland-Garros. However, he couldn’t keep hold of his emotions after failing to convert two match points in the fourth set.


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Speaking on the incident, former Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander said it was an outburst of pent-up emotions that players carry with themselves.

“That’s why I’m so impressed and proud to be part of the sport of professional tennis because these players have gone through very, very difficult times and they are holding a lot of emotion in,” Wilander said.


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Novak Djokovic let out his pent-up emotions from the Tour: Mats Wilander

The Swede added that it’s tough to be a traveling tennis player in pandemic times and the incident involving the Serb was simply an outpouring of the emotions from matches that piled up during the Tour.

“You see there with Novak that it is emotional for these guys. It is a tough job during a pandemic to be a traveling tennis player,” the legend added.

The current World No. 1 busted an advertising board and screamed at his box before converting his third match in the last game of the fourth set to close out the match.

Djokovic was largely untroubled in the first two sets as he secured decisive breaks of serve and held his own to take firm control of the match. However, the third set panned out differently as the Madrid runner-up took the attack to the Serb and eventually won it in a closely fought tiebreaker.

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Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini in four sets to reach French Open QF

Djokovic came roaring back in the fourth and barring that moment when he fluffed his lines on match point, the outcome was never in doubt. After wrapping up the win against Berrettini, the World No. 1 exploded again, venting out his emotions in a scream directed at his box.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 9, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his quarter final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The Serb came into this match after surviving a stern test against highly-rated Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti. Djokovic failed to impose himself on his opponent in the fourth-round encounter as Musetti directed the run of play and even took the first two sets in tiebreaks. However, the 33-year-old roared back into the contest, winning the third set 6-1 and bageling the Italian in the fourth as he battled cramps.

Musetti took an extended medical timeout in the third set after falling behind in the scoreline. But the momentary break in the proceedings did not help his cause as the World No. 1 barreled ahead with newfound belief and momentum, taking the fourth set to love. The Serb raced to a 4-0 lead in the decider and had all but wrapped up the match in his favor when a cramping Musetti decided to pull out of the contest.


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Djokovic will play familiar foe and 13-time champion Rafael Nadal on Friday for a place in the Roland-Garros final on Friday.


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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.