Tensions Simmer at Wimbledon as Novak Djokovic Accuses Fans of Booing Him

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The always intense atmosphere of Centre Court has reached a boiling point at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic, seeded first and seeking to equal a joint-record eighth men’s singles title, ignited a controversy Monday during his four-round match against Danish challenger Holger Rune. Fans cheered aloud whenever Rune won points, prolonging the chant “Ruuuuuuune.” Djokovic feels these tactics were not only encouraging Rune, but also disrespecting him and aimed squarely at frustrating his play.

“When they were cheering for Rune, I said, ‘Okay, this is support for my opponent,’ which is normal, I have played in many matches with people backing their opponents,” Djokovic mentioned during his on-court interview with Rishi Persad. “However, these chants, that was beyond just supporting an opponent.” He added that “every generation has its own set of people [who] want to come here to Wimbledon and take shots.” Djokovic implied he will not be rattled by such provocation.

Novak Djokovic (R) of Serbia greets Holger Rune of Denmark after their Men’s Singles third round match during day eight of The Championships Wimbledon 2024 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 08, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)

It is by no means the first instance where sections of the Wimbledon crowd have responded erratically to the 34-time Grand Slam champion’s performance on Court One. In his 2019 defeat of Roger Federer, some enthusiasts booed Djokovic while applauding his opponent’s victory shots. The same atmosphere transpired two years prior when he knocked out Brit Cameron Norrie in the semi-final round; Djokovic then shared an affectionate smile and even blew a kiss to a certain patch of fans, which incensed part of the crowd.

Acknowledging both the boos and accolades from attendees, Djokovic displayed nothing but poise as Rune supporters chanted. There were, however, several occurrences where he directed angry looks, occasionally glancing back towards groups of fans yelling in rhythmic cadence during player introductions, ready for interview breaks, or while prepared to renew his quest to surpass this storied mark, should a perfect match against unranked Alex de Minaur prevail today.

Simon Kent
Simon Kent
Managing Editor. An Aussie and a sailor a long way from the sea.

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