Novak Djokovic of Serbia won his eighth career Australian Open on Sunday by beating Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 59 minutes. However, the match was marred with some controversy. In the second set, Djokovic expressed his frustration by walking over and tapping on the umpire’s shoe during a break.
Djokovic was frustrated because he was called for back-to-back time violations regarding his serve in the ninth game of the second set. Djokovic lost the game, and subsequently lost the set. According to The Guardian, after making contact with French umpire Damien Dumusois, Djokovic went on to tell him, “You made yourself famous in this match. Great job. Especially, in the second one. Great job. You made yourself famous. Well done, man.”
In Dumusois’s defense, he was just doing his job. He had every right to call Djokovic on two time violations in the set. Djokovic has a history of bouncing the tennis ball constantly for several seconds before getting ready to serve.
In fact, Dumusois could have given Djokovic a more severe penalty for tapping his shoe. In many sports, athletes get an automatic disqualification for making contact with the umpire, and even though it might have been just a mild foot tap, there could have easily been more repercussions.
According to the Guardian, Djokovic believed he did not do anything wrong and was surprised a penalty may be enforced. However, the rules clearly states that contact with an official can lead to a fine of $20,000.
One might also question Djokovic’s verbal abuse toward the crowd in the final. In the first set he was overheard saying the “f—” word when he thought spectators were distracting him while serving. There is no doubt that Thiem, the fifth seed, was the underdog in the match, and got crowd support when the controversies took place.