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Djokovic vs the crowd: what did ‘Nole’ say about Wimbledon fans?

The Serb justified his criticism of the Wimbledon crowd by saying they booed him, while Rune claims the fans “were shouting my name.”

The Serb justified his criticism of the Wimbledon crowd by saying they booed him, while Rune claims the fans “were shouting my name.”

Novak Djokovic’s victory against Holger Rune in the round of 16 at Wimbledon was overshadowed by the criticism the Serbian made towards part of the public after the match. He claimed several fans had disrespected him with constant boos when they were shouting Rune’s name.

Nole had a solid performance against the young Danish star, who was expected to be a much harder opponent for the world No. 1. The Belgrade-bred legend got the job done in straight sets and is now closer to winning his eighth Wimbledon trophy and tie with Roger Federer as the tennis player with the most titles at the All England Club facilities.

Djokovic will now play Alex De Miñaur, one of the most in-form players in the ATP tour who knows what it feels like to beat ‘Nole’. The Aussie got the better of the 24-time major champion at the United Cup at the start of 2024 in straight sets.

Djokovic confronts Wimbledon crowd: what did he tell them?

In the post-game press conference, Djokovic also talked about the controversy regarding the public, stating he can’t throw out the spectators after they paid their tickets.

“Look, I don’t know what Wimbledon can really do about it. I mean, in those particular moments when it happens, the crowd paid their tickets. They have the right to be there and cheer the way they want to cheer. That’s something they choose — how they behave or how they choose to support the player is really up to them. Yes, you could argue maybe a chair umpire or whoever can step in in certain moments and calm them down, but there’s not much you can do. You’re not going to take out the whole section of the crowd or stadium because they’re misbehaving or showing disrespect”, Djokovic said.

Djokovic talked again about the fans’ importance during matches and their freedom to support whoever they want but also said he won’t admit to being disrespected.

“It’s just the way it is. It’s part of the sport. It’s actually one of the biggest reasons why we are here, why the tournament is so important historically, and why we were globally recognized as tennis players, is because of the fans, because of the interest they put into watching tennis matches, paying tickets, queuing to come. I respect that. I try to acknowledge that. I said that on the court. All true tennis fans who respect players, of course, you’re going to support one player or the other. It’s solely up to them. It’s understandable they have the freedom to choose who they back in the match”.

“But if somebody steps over the line, I react. That’s basically what it was. After the match, I said what I said”, he added.

Djokovic to the fans: “Goooood night”

After talking about the situation with the crowd during the post-game interview on the court, Djokovic wanted to send a message to the part of the fans that he believed were booing him.

“To all the fans who have respect and who stayed here tonight: ‘Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate it’”, he said ironically.

“And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player — in this case, me — have a goooood night. Gooooood night. Gooooood night. Very gooooood night”, he expressed, stretching out the “Os” in “good” so they sounded like “boo.”

Rune disagrees with Djokovic

Regarding Djokovic’s statements and the crowd controversy, Holger Rune admitted that when fans shout his name it can sometimes sound like booing, as Djokovic pointed out.

“It all started in the US Open the first time we played each other when I was 18 or something. They were shouting my name, Rune. It sounded a little bit like ‘boo’. We played each other many more times, but more in Italy and France, where they don’t pronounce my name the same way. Now we’re in England. If you don’t know what was happening, probably it sounded like ‘boo’. But if we all know what happened, it was my name”, Rune explained.

However, Rune believes that these shouts of encouragement towards him, which Djokovic misinterpreted, had no relevance in the outcome of the match.

“Obviously he’s played so many matches since he played me last time. If he didn’t remember, it could probably sound different for him. I don’t think it played a massive part in the match. He was just better than me today. Whether the crowd was this or that, I think was great support for both players, to be honest. They were supporting him on good points. They were supporting me. Nice scenes out there on Centre Court”, he concluded.