Novak Djokovic found himself in hot water again on Saturday after he received an umpire warning for breaking his racket in anger during his victory over Dominik Koepfer at the Italian Open in Rome.
The Serbian secured a place in the semi-final with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win, but his temper raised eyebrows once again when he smashed a racket in the second set.
Djokovic let out his frustration after Koepfer broke him to love to level proceedings at 3-3 in the second set, having let slip a 3-1 lead.
Having smashed his racket into the ground, the 33-year-old was warned by chair umpire Nacho Forcadell and had to use a new one.
Djokovic said of the incident: “It’s not the first nor the last racket that I’ll break in my career. I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again. I don’t want to do it but when it comes, it happens.
“That’s how, I guess, I release sometimes my anger and it’s definitely not the best message out there, especially for the young tennis players looking at me, and I don’t encourage that – definitely.”
Djokovic vowed to work on his behavior after he was disqualified from the US Open on September 6 for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat, when he angrily hit a ball away after being broken by Pablo Carreno Busta in the first set.
“That’s just me,” Djokovic added. “Of course I’m not perfect and I’m doing my best.”
The world No. 1 will face Casper Ruud in the semi-final on Sunday.
Make that 1️⃣1️⃣ @InteBNLdItalia SFs for @DjokerNole!He’ll take on Casper Ruud for a place in the final. pic.twitter.com/kzTusIvgoL
Djokovic has won the Italian Open four times in his career, but the most recent of those victories came in 2015. He has appeared in three of the last four finals in Rome, but lost each of them.
In 2020, he has played 30 matches and won all but one, the sole exception being the US Open clash in which he was defaulted.