Novak Djokovic furiously pleaded with a chair umpire to remove a heckler during his second-round match at the Australian Open on Thursday, after claiming the man was “drunk out of his mind.”
The explosive moment came during the fourth set of his match against France’s Enzo Couacaud following repeated disruptions by a spectator, who was among a group dressed as the famous children’s book character “Where’s Waldo?”
In the third set, a fan jumped to Djokovic’s defense, yelling “shut up!” at the heckler after he shouted during the serve.
But the 21-time Grand Slam champion had enough by the fourth set.
“Can you get this guy out?” Djokovic asked as he approached chair umpire Fergus Murphy.
“The entire night, the entire night… and what are you going to do about it? Please answer.”
“You’re kidding me,” Djokovic laughed in disbelief as Murphy appeared to shake his head.
“You know who it is,” Djokovic said, pointing to the crowd, seemingly in the direction of the heckler. “The guy is drunk out of his mind. From the first point he’s been provoking [me]. Provoking – he’s not here to watch tennis. He just wants to get in my head. So I’m asking you, what are you going to do about it? You heard it at least 10 times. I heard him 50 times. What are you going to do about it?”
Djokovic continued to plead his case, asking the official to get security to remove the fan but seemingly walked away in defeat.
But the fan, along with the other “Waldos,” were finally approached by security and removed.
Djokovic would win the match 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0, but continues to battle through what he revealed was a significant hamstring injury.
“I am worried. I mean, I cannot say that I’m not. I have reason to be worried,” he said after the match. “There’s two choices: Leave it or keep going. So I’m going to keep going.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.