Novak Djokovic - Wimbledon 2024

Novak Djokovic claims Wimbledon crowd ‘stepped over the line’

Novak Djokovic has progressed to a 60th Grand Slam quarter-final in comfortable fashion, but the Serbian was not pleased with some members of the crowd on Centre Court.

Djokovic beat 15th seed Holger Rune, 6-3 6-4 6-2, in just over two hours to reach his 15th Wimbledon quarter-final.

However, the main talking point of the match came when Djokovic hit out at the crowd after he claimed they were booing him on Centre Court.

Interviewer Rishi Persad pointed out to Djokovic that they appeared to be chanting ‘Ruuuune’, but Djokovic did not appear to accept that, “They were [disrespecting me], I don’t accept it. I know they were cheering for Rune but that is an excuse to also boo.

“Listen, I’ve been on the tour for more than 20 years, trust me I know the tricks, I know how it works. It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s ok. I focus on the respectful people, that have respect, that pay the ticket to come and watch the night and love tennis and appreciate the effort the players put in here. I’ve played in a much more hostile environment, you guys can’t touch me.”

Djokovic actually mocked the extended chanting of his opponents name when ending his interview, “To all the fans who have respect and have stayed here tonight, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it.

“And to all those people who have chosen to disrespect the player, in this case, me, have a goooood night. Goooood night. Goooood night. Very good night.”

The 24-time Grand Slam champion continued to explain his frustration towards the Wimbledon crowd in his post-match press conference, but claimed that there is ‘not much you can do’.

“I don’t know what Wimbledon can really do about it. In those particular moments, when the crowd paid their ticket… They have the right to be there and cheer the way they want to cheer. That’s absolutely, you know… how they choose to behave or support the player is really up to them,” explained the world No.2. “You could argue that maybe a chair umpire or whoever could step in during certain moments and calm them down. But there’s not much you can do.. you’re not gonna take out the section of the whole stadium out because they’re behaving or showing disrespect.”

Djokovic continued, “It’s just the way it is. It’s part of the sport. It’s one of the reasons we’re here… it’s why the tournament is so important historically and why we’re globally recognised as tennis players is because of the fans. Because of the interest they put into watching tennis matches, paying tickets.. I respect that. I try to acknowledge that.

“All the true tennis fans that really respect players.. of course you’re gonna support one player over the other. It’s solely up to them. It’s fully understandable. They have the freedom to choose who they back in the match. If someone steps over the line, I react. That’s basically what it was. After the match I said what I said.”

Djokovic will look to put the crowd trouble behind him tomorrow, when he plays Alex de Minaur for a place in the Wimbledon semi-final.

Inside the baseline…

It did really seem like a big misunderstanding, as Rune extended does sound like booing, but maybe Novak Djokovic thought some members of the crowd were using that as an excuse it is really hard to say. Regardless of that, it was a very dominant performance by Djokovic on the court, who looks so far removed from his knee surgery that you would not even know if he was not wearing the brace on his right leg.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.