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Djokovic Calls Out "Drunk Out of His Mind" Waldo Fan

By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, January 19, 2023

Where's Wally fans weren't hiding the trash talk directed at Novak Djokovic.

A group of fans dressed as the famed Where's Waldo character (called Where's Wally Down Under) in matching red-and-white striped shirts and matching beanies were busy giving Djokovic the business during his Australian Open second-round win over Enzo Couacaud.

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Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic was coping with a cranky left hamstring injury, a tricky French qualifier on the opposite side of the net and a few unruly fans who sometimes screamed before or during his serve motion.

Heckled by the Where's Wally gang he claimed was inebriated, Djokovic called out the colorful crew to the chair umpire. 

Finally, Djokovic erupted calling out Where's Wally for their collective taunting card play.

“The guy’s drunk out of his mind, from the first point he’s been provoking me,” Djokovic yelled at the umpire in the fourth set. "He’s not here to watch tennis. He just wants to get in my head. What are you going to do about it? Why don’t you get security to get him out of the stadium?”

Ultimately, security did indeed escort the fan from Rod Laver Arena.

Later, Djokovic prompted a collective laugh from the crowd saying "Thank you" to another fan who told a different unruly fan to "Shut up!" for trying to distract the 35-year-old Serbian superstar during his service motion.

Afterward, Djokovic said he tolerated the verbal abuse for a while because he understands fans pay for tickets and have a right to voice their views.

Ultimately, Djokovic said both the verbal abuse crossed the line and compelled him to ask the chair umpire to act.

"Most of the people, super majority of the people, is here or some other situations that I had in the past in some other tournaments, is always respectful," Djokovic said. "They are great fans and pay the ticket to watch you. I respect that. That's sport. Some people like you more, cheer for you, some don't. It's not something that I would say I have a problem with.

"What I have a problem with is when somebody's crossing the line - numerous times. From the very beginning, guys that were under the influence of alcohol, it was obvious, and I was grabbing my towel very close to them, particularly one guy, you heard his voice various times tonight, was insulting me and provoking me and saying things that were not respectful at all."

Tennis Express

Djokovic said he believes tournament officials should have acted sooner and said the fact he made the request now makes him look "like a bad guy" to fellow fans and media unaware of the extend of abuse he was receiving.

"So I tolerated for over one and a half hours, almost two hours. I was giving signs to the chair umpire, looking at the chair umpire looking at the guy," Djokovic said. "I think the chair umpire, supervisor, whoever is responsible for handling the crowd, should have done a bit more and anticipated me coming out to the chair umpire and looking like a bad guy because this is how I'm going to look like now in the media, in the public, because I'm the guy that kicked out some other guy...

"I can tolerate five, six times somebody telling me something, but there is a limit. That limit was crossed, and I stepped in and I asked the chair umpire, is he going to do something about it or not? He did, and I thanked him. "I feel like it's unnecessary for me or any other player to be put in this position after long time that match is already going, during of the match has already been two hours. It's plenty of time for supervisor, chair umpire, whoever is responsible, to react before a player."

Photo credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty