Novak Djokovic reacted furiously after being grilled about a potentially dangerous incident when he slammed a ball into the stands during his 6-7 (10/12), 6-0, 6-2 ATP Tour Finals win over Dominic Thiem on Sunday.
Djokovic responded to losing the first set against Thiem by angrily hitting a ball into the court and it bounced towards spectators before disappearing into a staircase.
The world number two was given a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct and, although he battled to back to defeat Thiem, he was still in a tetchy mood when he faced the media shortly after the match.
Asked if he was concerned that he would eventually get in trouble for his behaviour, defending champion Djokovic immediately took offence.
“You guys are unbelievable. You’re always picking these kind of things,” Djokovic fumed.
“I’m the only player that shows his frustration on the court? That’s what you are saying?”
It is not the first time that Djokovic, who has been in poor form for several months and recently lost the world number one ranking, has found himself in hot water for his frustrated on-court reactions.
At this year’s French Open, he narrowly avoided disqualification when his racquet slipped and almost hit a line judge during his quarter-final win over Tomas Berdych.
He also received a code violation in Rome in May when he threw his racquet and it almost bounced into the crowd during a final defeat against Andy Murray.
Djokovic has been more than a little thin-skinned in his interactions with the media of late after revelations that he has been working with a ‘spiritual guru’ in recent months.
And pressed on why he was becoming a repeat offender with equipment abuse, Djokovic refused to be apologetic.
“I keep doing these things? I’m close (to being suspended)? I’m still not suspended, so if I’m not close, I’m not close,” he said.
“It could have been (serious), yes. It could have snowed in O2 Arena as well, but it didn’t. It is not an issue for me. It’s not the first time I did it.”
Djokovic’s 122-week reign at the top was ended by Andy Murray last weekend.
However, he can climb back into pole position by the end of the tournament if he lifts the Tour Finals title for a fifth successive year while winning at least two of his group stage matches.