Novak Djokovic slams ‘disrespectful’ Wimbledon crowd in angry on-court speech

Novak Djokovic of Serbia addresses the crowd on Centre Court following victory against Holger Rune at Wimbledon
A furious Novak Djokovic told spectators: ‘You guys can’t touch me’ (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic slammed the Wimbledon crowd in an angry on-court speech after his last 16 win over Holger Rune, insisting that he was ‘disrespected’ as he was booed off Centre Court.

It kicked off when Djokovic, who endured a frosty reception during last year’s final, glanced up to spectators and puts his lips together to copy their ‘Rune’ chant and shush them at the end of the second set, before he went on to win 6-3 6-4 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals.

The Serbian appeared frustrated earlier in the clash when he mistook fans’ Rune support for booing, which did appear to sound similar, and he decided to address it by intimidatingly staring them down.

Speaking about it after the match, he said: ‘To all the fans who have respect and stayed here tonight, thank you from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it.

‘To all the people that have chosen to disrespect the player, in this case me, gooooooooood night.’

Master of ceremonies Rishi Persad told Djokovic: ‘I am hoping they were just commenting on Rune, and they were not disrespecting you.’

Djokovic added: ‘They were. They were. I am not accepting it. No no no. I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo.

‘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.’

Nick Kyrgios, who lost the 2022 Wimbledon final to Djokovic and is working for the BBC as a commentator this year, said: ‘Crowds need to understand not to poke the bear.’

Novak Djokovic celebrates his win over Holger Rune at Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic took his villain status to a new level on Centre Court (Picture: Getty)

Djokovic also took aim at Rune’s ‘mentality’ and form in his on-court interview as the 24-time Grand Slam champion knocked out the Danish 15th-seed.

‘Waiting all day to come out on the court is never easy. The tension is building up and stressed to get out on the court.

‘On my end I think I‘ve done things at the important moments. Things could have looked different if I lost those services games but very solid at the end and I’m very happy to get through in straight sets.’

It is the second time Djokovic has fallen out with the British crowds in SW19 this year after he shushed the crowd in his second-round win over Britain’s Jacob Fearnley.

The second seed, a seven-time Wimbledon winner, also slammed the umpire for not kicking out a disruptive fan in the fourth set.

‘How is he not out?’ Djokovic, 37, angrily shouted at the umpire at a change of ends, referencing a troublesome spectator who appeared to be putting him off.

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