Djokovic’s Default, Thunberg Criticizes Federer, Relive the Biggest Controversies in Tennis in 2020

Published 12/04/2020, 6:30 PM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia leaves the court after being defaulted for striking a lines person with a ball against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain (not pictured) on day seven of the 2020 U.S. Open Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many tennis events were canceled in 2020. Considering this, fans wouldn’t have expected to see too many controversies. However, that wasn’t the case as we saw many take place during the curtailed season. Here are some of them.

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Novak Djokovic On Tennis Legend Margaret Court’s Comments

Tennis legend Margaret Court had made some very controversial remarks. This led to many players demanding that the Margaret Court Arena be renamed. On this topic, Novak Djokovic said,I don’t support … what she said. I don’t think it was the right thing to say.”

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Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 21, 2020 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his semi-final match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Toby Melville

Novak Djokovic Taps Damien Dumusois’s Leg

During the final of the 2020 Australian Open, Novak received back-to-back time violations as he took too long to serve. After losing the game, a furious Djokovic tapped Umpire Dumusois’s leg and said, “You made yourself famous in this match. Great job.” 

After many people noticed this, the Serb addressed the issue. He did not feel that he crossed a line as it was just a ‘friendly’ touch.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Erste Bank Open – Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his first round match against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Nick Kyrgios Booed After Retiring At Acapulco

At the 2020 Mexican Open, defending champion Nick Kyrgios had to retire in the first round due to a wrist injury. The crowd was not happy about this, and they booed him as he walked off the court. In response to this, the Australian said, “I couldn’t give a f*ck,”

Nick Kyrgios of Australia looks on during his Men’s Singles fourth round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day eight of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour Fiasco

The ATP Tour was suspended for many months because of the pandemic. During this time, Novak hosted an exhibition event called the Adria Tour. Unfortunately, many players like Borna Coric got infected with the virus. The event was immediately canceled, and the Serb received a lot of criticism.

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 21, 2020 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his semi-final match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Toby Melville

Benoit Paire Calls the US Open Bubble ‘Fake’

To protect the players for COVID-19, the US Open tried to create a secure bubble. However, despite this, Benoit Paire got infected with the virus and had to pull out from the event. After this, the Frenchman was furious and called the bubble ‘fake’.

Kristina Mladenovic At US Open

There were many tight restrictions at the US Open, and Kristina Mladenovic was not happy about it. She felt like she was being treated as a ‘prisoner’ and she wanted to regain her freedom. These were some pretty controversial remarks. Hence, she received criticism from many people including former Grand Slam Champion, Andy Roddick.

Kiki Bertens vs Sara Errani

At the French Open, Kiki Bertens won a tough match against Sara Errani, where she struggled with cramps. After the match, Bertens had to be taken away in a wheelchair. However, Errani claimed that it was all an act.

She said, “I don’t like when somebody is ‘playing’ with me. She left the court on a chair and now she is all good eating in the restaurant, I just saw her.”

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – September 28, 2020 Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens during a change of ends during her first round match against Ukraine’s Katarina Zavatska REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Kristina Mladenovic ‘Double Bounce’ Incident

In her match against Laura Siegemund, Mladenovic had a set point. On that point, Laura apparently hit a ball after the second bounce. Kristina objected to it but the umpire ignored her. She went on to lose the set and even the match. Later, she called for the use of VAR in tennis.

Novak Djokovic Disqualified From US Open

This was probably the biggest controversy of the year, and it took place at the 2020 US Open. Djokovic, who was playing against Pablo Carreno Busta, lost his serve at 5-5 in the first set. He was furious, and in his rage, he whacked a ball that accidentally hit the line judge in the throat. She was visibly hurt and hence, the Serb was disqualified from the tournament.

Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia and a tournament official tend to a linesperson who was struck with a ball by Djokovic against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain (not pictured) on day seven of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Zverev Had A Fever At French Open

In the fourth round of the French Open, Alexander Zverev lost his match against Jannik Sinner. He was clearly not playing his best tennis, and he later revealed that it was because he had a fever.

Considering that the world is suffering from a pandemic, fans thought that it was irresponsible of him to play despite being sick. Thankfully, no one was in danger as the German tested negative for the coronavirus after the match.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev reacts during his second round match against France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Damir Dzumhur Threatened To File A Complaint Against French Open

Damir Dzumhur’s coach tested positive for COVID. Hence, the player had to leave the tournament. Since there is a possibility of a false positive, he wanted a second test to confirm. However, that was not granted, and he threatened to file a complaint against the French Open.

Daniil Medvedev Fined At US Open

The chair umpire failed to call a fault on Daniil Medvedev’s serve in his match against Dominic Thiem. The Russian assumed it was called fault and didn’t take Thiem’s return seriously. He ended up losing the point, and he was furious about it. Subsequently, he started ranting at the umpires. Hence, he was fined $9,000. As you can expect, he was very upset about this.

Sep 11 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York,USA; Daniil Medvedev of Russia argues with the chair umpire against Dominic Thiem of Austria (not pictured) in a men’s singles semi-finals match on day twelve of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports | Credit: Reuters

Dominic Thiem Refused To Contribute To Tennis Player Relief Fund

Due to the pandemic, lower-ranked players were suffering as the Tour was suspended. To help them, a Player Relief fund was set up. However, Thiem didn’t want to contribute to it as he felt that many players were unprofessional. Seeing this, Australian star Nick Kyrgios heavily criticized him.

Flushing Meadows, New York,USA; Dominic Thiem of Austria reacts after losing a point against Daniil Medvedev of Russia (not pictured) in a men’s singles semi-finals match on day twelve of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Novak Djokovic’s New Association For Tennis Players

At the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil called for the formation of a new association for players called the PTPA. Many players backed this, but some names like Rafael Nadal objected to it as he felt that a new association wasn’t required.

Sep 6, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after losing a point against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain (not pictured) on day seven of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Dominic Thiem Red Bull Incident

During a match at the US Open, Thiem requested a Red Bull energy drink. However, due to a sponsorship clash, the organizers denied him the same. After an argument, the drink was brought to him by a ball boy who covered the label.

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Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Dominic Thiem of Austria reaches for a forehand against Alexander Zverev of Germany (not pictured) in the men’s singles final match on day fourteen of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Federer Criticized By Greta Thunberg

Credit Suisse is one of the largest banks in Switzerland, and they had invested a lot of money in fossil fuel enterprises. Since Roger Federer endorsed them, Greta Thunberg took a dig at him. In response to this, the Swiss Maestro said that he takes the impact of Climate Change very seriously.

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Roger Federer (SUI) during the French Open Tennis at Stade Roland-Garros, Paris. (Credit: Jon Bromley | MI News) (Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Seeing controversies in tennis is something that no tennis fan, or tennis player enjoys. Now that we are going into the 2021 season, hopefully, we won’t see any more controversies.

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Rishi Karthikeyan

783 articles

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