Sport

Wimbledon champion apologises to ball girl who was left "trembling"

A spectator claimed the youngster was left "trembling" following the incident
A spectator claimed the youngster was left "trembling" following the incident

Reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic said he has apologised to a ball girl he shouted at in a "moment of battle" on court.

The number one seed, who booked his place in the semi finals today, exploded with anger during his tense fourth-round tie and seemed to shout "towel" in the girl's direction.

A spectator claimed the youngster was left "trembling" following the incident on Tuesday but Djokovic insisted today she was "completely OK".

The 28-year-old world number one said: "Look, I talked with the girl. She said she didn't mind.

"I apologised if there is anything I did.

"I didn't direct anything to her. It was in a moment of battle. I turned around and screamed. I'm sorry she was there in that moment.

"She's completely OK."

Djokovic, who beat Marin Cilic in straight sets today, said he was once a ball boy and he respected their work on court.

"They're all teenagers, kids," he said. "They're overwhelmed by the importance of the tournament, how big the stage is.

"To be able to share the court with tennis idols, many of them are tennis players, they dream to be actually in the same court but with a racquet in the hand."

Djokovic filmed a video apology in April after he was hit with a code violation at the Miami Open for shouting at a ball boy.

He claimed then that the ball boy had been caught in the crossfire and that he was letting off steam towards his coaching team after losing a set to Andy Murray.

Djokovic will play 21st seed Richard Gasquet in their semi-final match on Friday.