Former tennis star Adriano Panatta has criticised Novak Djokovic for his behaviour during his loss to Jannik Sinner. Djokovic was defeated by Sinner in his second group match at the ATP Tour Finals on Tuesday.
Djokovic is looking to add another title to his collection for the season, after winning the US Open back in September. However, the 24-time grand slam champion was dealt a blow with a group stage loss to Sinner in the week.
Sinner defeated Djokovic in three sets, winning the third and deciding set on a tiebreak. The 7-5 6-7(5-7) 7-6(7-2) victory over Djokovic was the first time that Sinner had faced the Serbian since the semifinals at Wimbledon in July, which ended in a win for Djokovic.
After defeating Holger Rune in his first group match, Djokovic then suffered his first defeat in four months. It meant that Djokovic’s place in the semifinals was uncertain, despite a subsequent victory over Hubert Hercacz on Thursday.
Panatta was commentating on the loss to Sinner as part of the coverage by Italian TV channel, Rai Italia. It was whilst analyzing the game that Panatta, who won the French Open in 1976, slammed Djokovic for his behaviour and went on to reference two of the sport’s greatest names.
Panatta said, via Tennis 365: “Have you ever seen [Roger] Federer or [Rafael] Nadal behave the way Djokovic did tonight? He [Djokovic] would have bet anything that he would try for the match to break the rhythm, he always does.
“First the bath, then the physio, he tries everything. I don’t like that attitude at all, thank goodness Sinner doesn’t care, he stays there calmly.”
Djokovic was involved in a confrontation with the umpire, who he accused of failing to call a let on one of Sinner’s serves. It was a fiery contest which snapped a 19-match winning streak for Djokovic.
Djokovic formed a fierce, but friendly, rivalry with both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer over the past two decades. The trio make up the top three players on the list for the most grand slam men’s singles titles won in the Open Era.
Djokovic passed Nadal’s total of 22 grand slams earlier this year with victory at the French Open. He then followed that up with his triumph in Flushing Meadows at the U.S Open, to move two ahead of Nadal and four ahead of Federer’s total of 20 grand slam singles titles.
For Sinner, his victory over Djokovic secured his place in the semifinals of the ATP Tour Finals in Turin. Victory over Rune in his final group match also saw Djokovic’s place in the final four guaranteed.
Sinner will be joined by Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, with Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev battling it out for the final spot in the last four.