‘Novak Djokovic deserves love and support from fans,’ says top analyst
Amazon Prime analyst Mark Petchey says Novak Djokovic has more than earned some ‘love’ from fans – and he hopes he gets it.
Djokovic beat Hubert Hurkacz in his final round robin match but he failed to get the straight sets win he needed to ensure his own qualification for the semi-finals.
It didn’t matter in the end as Jannik Sinner beat Holger Rune to end the Dane’s qualification hopes and put Djokovic through anyway.
However, Petchey took exception to the Turin crowd cheering when Djokovic served a double fault that handed the second set to Hurkacz.
“I do feel that as he strides atop of the men’s game at this stage of his career and given all the sacrifices and sporting moments he has given to us, I hope the crowds around the world in the final vestiges of his career give him the love and support and the embrace that all of that hard work deserves,” Petchey said as part of Amazon Prime’s coverage.
“I would hate to feel that every time he sits in this situation that all that cascades down from these stadium walls because I just don’t think it’s fair.
“I understand it against Sinner, with an Italian crowd, but in this situation (against Hurkacz), it just wouldn’t happen for Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] and it’s just not right.”
Novak Djokovic will now play Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals after the Spaniard beat Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Medvedev will face Sinner in the other.
Crowd treatment of Novak Djokovic ‘disheartening’
Petchey was clearly angered by the crowd’s treatment of Djokovic in Turin, although it is possible that it wasn’t personal.
The crowd have been very pro-Jannik Sinner all week, and it’s possible that they knew that Hurkacz winning a set ensured Sinner would top the group.
They also may have just been wanting to see more tennis – or were happy that Hurkacz winning a set would ensure the evening match between Sinner and Rune had something resting on it.
For Petchey, though, too much has happened with Djokovic not getting the love he should to offer any benefit of the doubt.
“I find it really disheartening at times when I hear that kind of support for Hurkacz,” Petchey said.
“Maybe they want three sets, maybe they don’t understand the significance that Novak might go through even if he doesn’t win.
“I just feel Novak is at this stage of his career that even if you don’t agree with every decision that he has made, no genius across all walks of life has always made decisions you always agree with.”
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