NOVAK DJOKOVIC apologised for touching the chair umpire as he let out a furious rant during the Australian Open final.
The Serb, 32, edged out Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 after four hours of brutal tennis on the Rod Laver Arena.
He reclaimed his place as the world No1 and bagged his 17th Grand Slam title in the process.
But despite winning the Australian Open for a record-extending eighth time, Djokovic did not endear himself to the Rod Laver Arena crowd by telling them to “shut the f*** up” and then later shouting at the umpire Damien Dumusois.
The ace was handed two time violations for exceeding the 25-second shot clock.
As he got back to his chair, he tapped Dumusois’ shot and raged: “You made yourself famous in this match. Great job. Especially in the second one. Great job. You made yourself famous. Well done, man.”
Immediately after victory on Sunday, Djokovic said: “I didnt know thats completely forbidden. I thought it was a nice really friendly touch.
“I wasnt aggressive with him in terms of physical abuse. I just couldnt believe that I got the time violation. It kind of disturbed me. Thats all there is to it.
“Verbally we did have some exchanges, but no insults because if I did insult him, I would get a warning. Right now that you tell me that, I want to thank him for not giving me a warning for touching him.”
But after taking a day to reflect on what happened, the world No1 reiterated that he did not mean to cause offence with the gesture.
Speaking on Monday presenting his favourite trophy, he said: “The crowd wanted a great match and I think that’s what they got.
“I’m not happy that I touched the chair umpire. I’m sorry if I offended him or anybody else.”
Djokovic recovered from 2-1 down in sets to beat Thiem, who is still looking to win his first major.
But for the Serb, he is now just three behind Roger Federer’s record haul of 20 Grand Slams – and two behind Rafael Nadal, who he replaced as the world No1 with his glory Down Under.
Asked if his dream is to overtake both and break the all-time record, Djokovic was clear.
He added: “I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s not, of course it is.”