Watch: Novak Djokovic left in disbelief by Indian Wells umpire: Blagging me or what?

Djokovic thought that chair umpire Greg Allensworth missed a blatant call during his Indian Wells third-round match.

by Dzevad Mesic
Watch: Novak Djokovic left in disbelief by Indian Wells umpire: Blagging me or what?
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Novak Djokovic was left stunned and in disbelief over one call made by chair umpire Greg Allensworth as the Serb thought that the umpire missed a blatant hindrance call during his Indian Wells match against Luca Nardi.

On Monday, top-seeded Djokovic shockingly exited the Indian Wells Masters in the third round after world No. 123 Nardi handed the world No. 1 a 6-4 3-6 6-3 loss. 

With Djokovic 2-0 up in the second set and Nardi having a break point, the Italian appeared to stop believing the Serb's serve was going out. But Nardi still hit the ball - the ball made its way onto Djokovic's side - the Serb then volleyed the ball into the Italian's side of the court but stopped all while the 20-year-old continued to play and won the point. 

After losing the point and getting broken back, Djokovic pointed out that Nardi stopped and asked chair umpire Allensworth where was a hindrance call. When told by Allensworth that Nardi stopping didn't mean that the point stopped as well. Djokovic looked stunned and even asked the chair umpire if he was "blagging" him." 

“Just because he stops it doesn’t mean the point stops… what are you talking about? You saw that reaction, he literally stopped. He completely confused me and I stopped as well. How can you not make that judgement? Are you blagging me or what?” Djokovic responded.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

After directly telling Allensworth he wanted him to call hindrance, Djokovic added:  “The situation was such that he thought the ball was out and he just stopped and that’s it."

But Allensworth didn't agree. 

“My point is that it is not grounds for him to lose the point. If he would’ve come up saying ‘out’ or pointing out then I would agree with you 100 percent, but since he didn’t do anything to stop the point…” Allensworth explained.

Djokovic didn't hold back when assessing his performance 

Although Djokovic entered the match as the huge favorite, it was Nardi who made the first move after breaking the Serb in the fifth game and then holding his serve for the remainder of the set to clinch the first set.

After opening an early 2-0 second-set lead and then getting broken back in the third game where he felt that the chair umpire missed a hindrance call, Djokovic still won the set after breaking Nardi again in the sixth game. 

But forcing a third set didn't lead to Djokovic drastically improving his level as he lost the match after Nardi earned the only break of the decider in the sixth game. Also, it should be mentioned that Djokovic didn't have a single break point during the third set.  

After finishing with 31 unforced errors and getting upset by a player ranked outside the top-100, Djokovic gave credit to Nardi for his performance but also made it clear that he wasn't happy with his own performance at all.

"I helped him play well, and I didn't help myself at all," Djokovic said.

"I made some really terrible unforced errors. Just quite defensive tennis, and, you know, not much on the ball in the third, and that's it. You know, he just stepped in and he used the time that he had. He was playing more free and more aggressive than I did, and going for his shots and that break on 3-2 in the third was enough."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Djokovic on not having any titles in 2024

The season being in mid-March and Djokovic not having a title won is quite an odd sight. However, it should be noted that Indian Wells was Djokovic's just third tournament of the year. 

Previously, Djokovic started his 2024 season by representing at the United Cup, where his side was beaten by Australia. After losing to Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semifinal, for the first time in many years Djokovic left Australia without a title won there. 

"Yeah, no titles this year. That's not something I'm used to. I was starting the season most of my career with a Grand Slam win or, you know, Dubai win, or any or tournament," Djokovic said.

"It's fine. You know, it's part of the sport. You just have to accept it. Some you win; some you lose. Hopefully I'll win some more and still keep going.

"I guess every trophy that eventually comes my way is going to be great (smiling), obviously to break the kind of negative cycle a little bit I'm having in the last three, four tournaments where I haven't really been close to my best."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Next on Djokovic's schedule is the Miami Masters, where the world No. 1 is a six-time champion.

Novak Djokovic Indian Wells