Novak Djokovic has admitted he was “not happy” for his reaction to two time violations when he tapped French umpire Damien Dumusois on the foot
Novak Djokovic has apologised for his behaviour in the Australian Open final as he was backed to smash the all-time record and win 25 Grand Slam titles.
The new world No.1 won his 17th Major at the Australian Open to move within three of Roger Federer’s record for a male player.
But the Serb admitted he was “not happy” for his reaction to two time violations when he tapped French umpire Damien Dumusois on the foot and said: “Well done – you made yourself famous.”
Speaking in his traditional post-final venue of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Djokovic said: “In a professional sport, things happen that obviously you’re not proud of.
“Sometimes you do things that you’re not happy with and you go through different emotions, you go through ups and downs.
Of course, I’m not happy that I touched the chair umpire. And I’m sorry if I offended him or anybody else.
“But in the heat of the battle, some decisions that he makes or some decision that happens just distracts you and sets you off the balance a little bit. I just tried to re-centre myself and it all ended up well for me. Hopefully people in the stadium and the ones that watched enjoyed the battle.”
Margaret Court holds the overall milestone of 24 Grand Slam titles – a tally Serena Williams is striving to equal before the end of her career.
But seven-time Major winner Mats Wilander told L’Equipe: “Novak has an incredible capacity to play his best tennis when it is necessary. He never panics even when he is tired or frustrated. I would be surprised if he doesn’t win another two Grand Slams this year.
“In fact, I do not see who can stop him winning at least another four Majors or more. I even think he can win 25 Grand Slams before the end of his career.”
Lleyton Hewitt reckons the eight-time Australian Open and Dominic Thiem will now challenge Rafa Nadal for his Roland Garros title.
The Serb returned to world No.1 with his eighth Australian Open triumph. And Austrian Thiem, who climbs to a career-high of world No.4, lost to Nadal in the last two Paris finals before going down to Djokovic in a five-set final in Melbourne.
The Spaniard has won the French Open 12 times and will be favourite to lift the trophy again in June and equal Roger Federer’s male record of 20 Grand Slams.
But 2002 Wimbledon champion Hewitt said: “Novak can now absolutely win in Paris. You have got to throw in both the finalists from the Australian Open..
“Dominic Thiem is going to be a real threat at Roland Garros as well. But Novak, the way that he moves and slides on clay, he has won there before, he is so strong over five sets, he is always going to be a threat.
“You would have to say right now the two finalist tonight and Rafa Nadal are the three favourites for Roland Garros.”
Djokovic has won all eight of his Australian Open finals – and nine of his last 10 Grand Slam finals.
Fellow former world No.1 Jim Courier added: “Novak has become the closer. It is remarkable what he has done.”
The Serb, who has started the season with 15 consecutive wins after helping his nation to the ATP Cup, has gone onto to win at least one more Major in the last three years he won the Australian Open title.
“To start off the season with a Grand Slam win significantly boosts your confidence and your expectations are quite high for the rest of the season,” he said. “But whatever happens, this season is already successful.”