Novak Djokovic Criticizes Wimbledon Crowd After Victory Over Holger Rune

Novak Djokovic Criticizes Wimbledon Crowd After Victory Over Holger Rune

Novak Djokovic addresses perceived boos from the Wimbledon crowd after defeating Holger Rune in straight sets. The tennis star’s reaction adds to his history of crowd confrontations.

Bollywood Fever: Novak Djokovic had promised ‘fireworks’ in his fourth-round match against Holger Rune at Wimbledon, but after the game itself failed to spark, he turned his post-match interview into a fiery address aimed at the Centre Court crowd.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion felt disrespected by what he believed were boos directed at him during his straight-sets win on Monday evening. Despite the crowd seemingly chanting “Ruuuuuuune” in support of his opponent, Djokovic interpreted it differently.

“To all the fans that have had respect and stayed here tonight, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I appreciate it,” he began. “And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player—in this case, me—have a goooooooood night.”

The BBC interviewer, Rishi Persad, suggested the crowd might have been cheering for Rune rather than booing Djokovic, but the 37-year-old was having none of it. “They were. They were [disrespecting me],” Djokovic insisted. “I am not accepting it. No no no. I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo.”

Djokovic continued, “Listen, I have been on the tour for more than 20 years. I know all the tricks. I focus on the respectful people that pay for the ticket, and love tennis and appreciate the players. I played in much more hostile environments, trust me—you guys can’t touch me.”

Novak Djokovic Criticizes Wimbledon Crowd After Victory Over Holger Rune

Rune himself clarified, “I mean, if you don’t know what was happening, probably it sounded like boo. But if we all know what happened, it was my name.”

For the record, Djokovic won the match 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, delivering his best performance of the Championships so far. Rune struggled throughout, losing the first 12 points of the match and never fully recovering.

In his press conference later, Djokovic stood by his comments. “When I feel a crowd is stepping over the line, I react,” he said. “I don’t regret my words or actions on the court.” He also tweeted a photo after the game of him stretching for a ball across the court, captioned: “Sliding into quarters. Goooooooooooood night.”

Nick Kyrgios, known for his own on-court meltdowns, commented to BBC Sport, “It wasn’t [booing] but I think crowds all around the world need to understand that Novak doesn’t need more of a motive to play better. He’s driven, one of the best players in the world and I’ve seen it time and time again, the crowd try to poke the bear and that’s not what you want to do against Novak. He loves it.”

Clare Balding added, “When Sue Barker came out the other day people who were shouting ‘Suuuuuuuuuuuue’. I don’t think it’s booing.”

Djokovic’s contentious relationship with the crowd is well-documented. After defeating Roger Federer in the 2019 final, his former coach Boris Becker noted that Djokovic deserved more respect from the crowd. He was also booed after blowing a kiss to fans following his semi-final win over Briton Cameron Norrie two years ago.

Last year, he played up to the crowd as he took on 20-year-old Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final. With the crowd backing underdog Alcaraz at times, Djokovic again blew kisses at the fans. He was also met with boos during the final when he dented the net post by smashing his racket in frustration, argued with the umpire, and glared at the Centre Court crowd.

In January, Djokovic screamed at fans to ‘shut the f*** up’ as he hit out at new rules allowing fans to move around between games at the Australian Open.

In Wednesday’s quarter-final, fortunately, Djokovic will not face a player with a single-syllable surname containing the letter ‘u’ or a double ‘o’. It will be easy to distinguish between boos for him and support for Alex de Minaur.

However, the pair do have history after clashing over Djokovic’s vaccination saga during the pandemic. Aussie star De Minaur was one of the most vocal players addressing Djokovic’s deportation and ban from playing in the Australian Open. “Look, Australians have gone through a lot,” he said at the time. “There’s no secret about that. They’ve had it very tough. They’ve done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders.”

When Djokovic beat him last year, he told reporters, “I don’t have any relationship with him. I respect him as a rival, a colleague, as I respect everyone. I have no problem contacting him, congratulating him, etc. But I don’t have any other relationship. I don’t have any communication with him. He showed in 2022 what he thinks about me.”

The drama doesn’t end there. The match between American Taylor Fritz and No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev was also filled with tension. Zverev had a long exchange with Fritz at the end of the match and later said he felt some members of the American’s box were “a bit over the top.” Fritz’s influencer girlfriend Morgan Riddle, who has 17.2 million likes on TikTok, wrote “cheer loud ladies” on social media, and afterwards posted a video with the caption “when ur man wins 4 the girls.” Some viewed those posts as references to Zverev’s court case for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, which was settled last month. He agreed to pay Brenda Patea, the mother of his child, $217,820 but was found not guilty of any wrongdoing.

As Djokovic continues his Wimbledon campaign, his interactions with the crowd and his opponents add a layer of drama to his pursuit of another Grand Slam title.

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Nicholas Edwards

Nicholas Edwards is a passionate writer with a keen interest in sports and business news. With a knack for delivering insightful and engaging content, Nicholas keeps his finger on the pulse of the latest developments in these dynamic fields. His enthusiasm for both sports and business shines through in his writing, making complex topics accessible to a wide audience. Whether it's dissecting the latest game-changing play or analyzing market trends, Nicholas brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of knowledge to his articles. Email @

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