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Wimbledon 2015: Novak Djokovic vows to apologise after yelling at ballgirl

By Mark Bryans

Published 08/07/2015

Marathon man: Novak Djokovic returns a serve during his thrilling five-set victory over Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon
Marathon man: Novak Djokovic returns a serve during his thrilling five-set victory over Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has promised to apologise to a Wimbledon ballgirl after angrily shouting towards her during his fourth-round win over Kevin Anderson.

The defending champion appeared to aggressively yell "towel" at the startled youngster when struggling to fend off big-serving South African Anderson.

Djokovic won 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-4 7-5, resuming yesterday at two sets all after fading light had brought the match on Court One to an overnight halt.

When asked about the incident involving the ball girl, which came in the sixth game of the deciding set after he planted a loose forehand into the net to end a 20-shot rally, Djokovic said: "I'm sorry. There was nothing towards her.

"Maybe she was just afraid of my screaming there.

"I was pretty close to her. I'm definitely going to try to apologise to her if I did something wrong."

Djokovic's safe progress to the quarter-finals came on the 30th anniversary of coach Boris Becker's first Wimbledon triumph as a 17-year-old.

"I didn't know it was today. But he's going to have a glass of wine, I'll have a glass of water, and we will celebrate this nice milestone," Djokovic said.

Becker said of Djokovic's performance: "I think that's a message to the locker room that whoever said he wasn't ready before, well he's ready now."

The 28-year-old World No 1 will face US Open champion Marin Cilic today in the quarter-finals.

They have played 12 times previously, and Djokovic has prevailed each time.

He will be looking to avoid an unlucky 13th, and the Serbian said of his Croatian rival: "He had an exceptional season last year, the best of his life. He played very well at the Grand Slams, and of course won the US Open. That's the crown of his career.

"I remember him mentioning earlier this year that he wants to focus mostly on Wimbledon and the grass. That's where he feels like he has a best chance besides the US Open."

Djokovic labelled his tussle with Anderson as "one of the most difficult in my Wimbledon career" and said the 29-year-old played "exceptionally well".

"Obviously the fifth set was very frustrating, very tense," Djokovic said.

"I basically didn't have any chances on his serve until the 11th game when he made two double faults and I made a couple of good returns from the forehand side. That was enough."

Djokovic defended his emotional outbursts, adding: "Sometimes it's just good to scream and let it all out, because that's the way I work."

Anderson was beaten in straight sets by Andy Murray in the Queen's Club final last month and said it was "more comfortable" to tackle Djokovic on grass than the Scot, although he finds it hard to look beyond the pair as potential champions.

"I think I was more settled playing Novak than I was against Andy. I lost a couple of early breaks to Andy. He served well. I didn't have too many looks there," Anderson said.

"They're both playing good tennis. If they get to the final, it will obviously be a very exciting match.

"It will be really interesting to see what progresses. It would be really hard to pick outside of Andy and Novak.

"If I had to pick one, I would just be guessing. You could probably guess as well as I could."

Belfast Telegraph

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