Djokovic was given a time violation by umpire Fergus Murphy when he took a lengthy pause.
Djokovic was given a time violation by umpire Fergus Murphy when he took a lengthy pause after losing a long rally in the first set.
The Serb responded by having an increasingly animated discussion with Murphy at the end of the game, which included Djokovic appearing to say the official "had no clue about the game".
Djokovic also vented his frustrations to tournament supervisor Tom Barnes before finally focusing on the match and, while conceding he sometimes takes too long between points, he insisted the officials should take a softer approach before handing out warnings.
"First of all, I accept and I know that I'm one of the players that takes the most time. There is no doubt. I'm not running away from that," Djokovic said.
"Every time that I'm late, if I get a so-called soft warning or pre-warning, I'll accept it and I won't say a word.
"But I think it's fair, correct and respectful towards the player and to the game if you go over the first time, let's say, over the limit, that you at least get a heads up.
"That's all I'm asking for, to be honest. I know that the rules are strict. But there should be a kind of a feel, a sense for the game.
"It was the fourth game of the match, after a long point, the first time I went over, a few seconds, he gives me a warning.
"I didn't think that was supported by the right facts. That's why I wanted to have a conversation and understand why."
It was not the first time Djokovic has been involved in an altercation in this week's Tour Finals after he slammed a ball into the crowd during his match against Dominic Thiem and then had a tetchy exchange with a journalist about the incident.
Djokovic's angst has come to the fore at a time when he has been mired in a prolonged slump that saw him lose the number one ranking to Andy Murray amid rumours about problems in his private life.
Insisting he remains in control of his emotions, Djokovic said: "Look, we are all humans. Every single day we face some certain kind of challenges, mental challenges, private, professional life, emotions, thoughts.
"Certainly there are stages of the year or of the day, moments when you feel worse, and you feel better.
"The important thing is to be conscious of it and just deal with it in a best possible way that works for you."