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Novak Djokovic calls out heckling fan at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic calls out heckling fan at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic invited a heckling spectator to confront him face-to-face Wednesday at the Australian Open.

During the fourth set of his second-round match against local favorite Alexei Popyrin, Djokovic walked to the back of the court and yelled at the spectator.

“There was a lot of things that were being told to me on the court, particularly from that corner, and the same side the other corner,” Djokovic said after his 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory. “I was tolerating it for most of the match.

“At one point I had enough, and I asked him whether he wants to come down and tell it to my face. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the courage to come down.”

Djokovic did not disclose what the heckler said to him, saying “you don’t want to know [what he said].”

Eurosport analyst Nick Kyrgios commented during the exchange that the fan should not have “poked the bear.”

Said Djokovic: “I was asking [the heckler], ‘If you have courage, if you’re such a tough man — tough guy, come down and tell it to my face, and let’s have a discussion about it.”

Djokovic overcame his own struggles and the raucous late-night crowd at Rod Laver Arena to win his 30th consecutive match at the Australian Open, which he has won 10 times. The world No. 1 is seeking a record-extending 25th career Grand Slam title.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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