World No 1 Novak Djokovic lost his cool with the umpire during his opening match of the Italian Open against Taylor Fritz, which was suspended shortly after. The Serbian edged the first set 6-3 and was a break up in the second.
Fritz, who knocked British No 1 Dan Evans out of the previous round, levelled for 5-5 in the second set as the rain started the fall.
Djokovic fumed “How much more do you wanna play?” at the umpire as he was unhappy at the conditions.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner took refuge in a tunnel area as the rain became heavier, but Fritz remained in his court-side chair eager for the match to continue as he was building momentum.
The official ultimately suspended the match, which looks set to be heading towards a tiebreak.
Djokovic prepared for his showdown with Fritz by practising with Andy Murray, who flew out to Rome this week.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has been struggling with injury and is working on his fitness ahead of the French Open.
“I thought he played very well on the court,” Djokovic said of the Scot. “He moves well considering it’s clay, which is not the best surface for his hips.
“But, considering what he has been through lately, I think it seems like he’s been feeling well on the court. That’s what he’s saying, and that’s what it appears on the court itself.
“We had a nice chat and had a few laughs on the court as well. It was just great.
“It brought back the old times when we spent a lot of time on the court together, whether it was training or playing against each other.”
Meanwhile, Djokovic is planning to play less tournament this year so he can focus on chasing down Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam tallies.
“I’m not personally paying too much attention anymore to the rankings as much as I am to my game for the Grand Slams,” he added.
“Those are the biggest focus tournaments right now at this stage of my career.”
Djokovic is planning to return home following the Italian Open to compete in the ATP 250 Belgrade Open.
He will then travel to Roland Garros for the French Grand Slam.