Novak Djokovic fumed at Cameron Norrie after winning a tense encounter at the Italian Open on Tuesday, saying he failed to understand the reason for the Briton’s “attitude” on court.

A charged-up Norrie vociferously celebrated points in the opening set of his 6-3 6-4 fourth-round loss despite trailing early on and Djokovic responded in a similar fashion as the contest progressed.

Things began to heat up in the second set when Norrie’s overhead smash hit Djokovic on the leg after the Serbian had turned his back on the net having given up on a point.

The 22-times Grand Slam champion gave Norrie a death-stare despite receiving an apology, though he conceded later Norrie may not have struck him deliberately and was not sure if the Briton saw where he was when making the shot.

But Djokovic was also unhappy about waiting to serve for the match after Norrie had taken a late medical timeout.

“It was a combination of things. From the beginning, he was doing all the things that were allowed,” Djokovic said.

“He’s allowed to take a medical timeout. He’s allowed to hit a player. He’s allowed to say ‘come on’ in the face more or less every point from the first game.

“Those are the things we players know in the locker room isn’t fair play, it’s not how we treat each other. But, it’s allowed, so…”

Djokovic said he normally got on well with Norrie.

“We practised with each other. He’s a very nice guy off the court so I don’t understand this kind of attitude on the court, to be honest,” the Serbian added.

“But it is what it is. He brought the fire and I responded to that. I’m not going to allow someone behaving like this just bending my head. I’m going to respond.

“That’s all it is. What happens on the court, we leave on the court and move on.”