Novak Djokovic explains ‘what it was’ that riled him up in Wimbledon win over Holger Rune | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic doubled down on his criticism of the Wimbledon crowd after beating Holger Rune to reach the quarter-finals. Djokovic cruised to a straight-sets victory over his Danish rival but was left frustrated by what he perceived as disrespect from the fans on Centre Court.

The boo-like noise made throughout the match by fans supporting Rune irritated Djokovic, who launched an extraordinary attack on the crowd in his on-court interview. He refused to accept the excuse that fans were chanting Rune’s name, instead suggesting that he was being booed.

Djokovic was asked to explain his furious response in his post-match press conference, with the Serb accusing fans of overstepping the mark and doubling down on his earlier comments.

“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,” said the Serb.

“That’s absolutely 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. 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 recognised as tennis players.

“It’s because of the fans, because of the interest that 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 the true tennis fans that respect players, of course, you’re going to support one player or the other.

“It’s obviously solely up to them. It’s fully understandable that 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.”

Djokovic will be hoping for the crowd to show him more support when he faces Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. He is hoping to seal his first Grand Slam triumph of the year, with Jannik Sinner beating him to the Australian Open title and Carlos Alcaraz winning the French Open.

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