Serbia's Novak Djokovic has been called on to apologise for his father's pro-Russian stance by the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia
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Novak Djokovic has blamed Britain's Cameron Norrie for "lacking fair play" after dramatic scenes between the two at the ongoing Italian Open.

While Djokovic defeated Norrie in straight sets in their Round of 16 meeting in Rome, the Serbian star was left irritated by some of his opponent's tactics throughout the match. In the second set, an incident took place when Djokovic appeared to give up the point. He turned his back to the net as Norrie was gearing up to smash a winner.

The British number one didn't notice what his opponent was doing in time before smashing the winner that hit Djokovic's ankle, leaving the World No. 2 furious. Djokovic had already been annoyed by Norrie's shouts of "come on" before being struck by the ball.

The incident earned Norrie a frosty glare from Djokovic and an aggressive response from the capacity crowd in Rome. This moment was the only supposed setback for Djokovic, who wrapped up the match well within two hours but only after Norrie called for a medical timeout.

Even though Djokovic secured an easy victory, he did not hesitate to slam Norrie at the post-match conference.

Djokovic: It's not how we treat each other

Listing out the complaints he had with Norrie's conduct, Djokovic said, "The ball was super slow and super close to the net. I just turned around because the point was over for me. It was maybe a combination of things, from the very beginning he was doing things that were allowed. He's allowed to take a medical timeout, he's allowed to hit a player. He's allowed to shout 'come on' in the face on more or less every single point."

Speaking further, Djokovic stated that he got along with the Johannesburg-born player really well so he was not sure why the latter behaved that way on Tuesday.

"It's not fair play, it's not how we treat others. But it is allowed. I got along with Cameron really well since he's been on tour. He's a very nice guy off the court so I don't understand this kind of attitude, to be honest. But it is what it is," Djokovic added.

Djokovic also stated that he doesn't drag the incidents that happen on the court and likes to move on from them.

"He brought the fire and I responded to that. I'm not going to allow someone behaving like this bending my head. That's all it is. What happens on the court, we leave on the court and move on," added Djokovic.

Djokovic chasing a 7th title in Rome

Chasing a record 23rd Grand Slam, Djokovic has been in great form ahead of Roland Garros, which is scheduled to begin on May 28. Ahead of the Italian Open, the Serbian star was struggling with an injury. However, his matches in Rome have shown that he is fully fit just two weeks from his opening game in Paris.

Djokovic, 35, demolished Norrie with his deep-aggressive hitting on the clay court. Djokovic also moved freely, sliding into shots to make the Briton run around the court. The victory paved his way to the quarter-finals in Rome for the 17th straight year.

Having won at the event in Rome in 2008, 2011, 2014-15, 2020 and 2022, Djokovic is chasing a seventh title and overall a record-extending 39th ATP Masters 1000 crown.

After the victory over Norrie, when Djokovic was asked about the underway tournament in a post-match interview, the Serbian replied, "So far so good. It was an early start today. Strange conditions and we warmed up for just 20 minutes. I was rushing a little bit and we couldn't play before because of the rain, so I am glad to overcome the challenge in straight sets and move on."

Djokovic is set to take on Denmark's 20-year-old Holger Rune in the quarter-finals at the Italian Open on Wednesday.