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Tuesday, 09 July 2024 11:13

Djokovic accuses Wimbledon crowd of disrespect after reaching quarterfinals.

By Joe Rindl.

Novak Djokovic accused some of the Centre Court crowd of using a Holger Rune chant as "an excuse to boo" as his hot-and-cold relationship with Wimbledon took another turn.

Hundreds of fans greeted Rune winners, and Djokovic errors, with elongated cries of 'Ruuuuuuu-ne' during the pair's fourth-round match on Monday.

Djokovic - a convincing 6-3 6-4 6-2 winner - felt the crowd were disrespecting him.

When on-court interviewer Rishi Persad put it to the Serb that they were supporting his opponent, Djokovic said there was more to it.

"I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo," he said.

"I have been on the tour for more than 20 years. I know all the tricks."

Djokovic is attempting to win a joint record eighth Wimbledon men's title, and is a nine-time finalist at SW19.

But his relationship with the crowd has not always been serene.

After Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the 2019 final, his former coach Boris Becker said he deserved more respoct from a partisan crowd who had mostly sided with his opponent.

And two years ago, Djokovic was booed after he blew a kiss to fans following his semi-final win over Briton Cameron Norrie.

On Monday, Djokovic looked unfazed for much of the match, though after taking the second set he did stare at a pocket of Rune supporters.

He also looked towards chanting fans when standing by the microphone as he waited for his on-court interview.

"I played in much more hostile environments, trust me - you guys can't touch me," he said.

"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."

Rune, for his part, thought it was clear what the fans were doing.

"If you don't know what was happening, probably it sounded like 'boo'. But if we all know what happened, it was my name," said the 21-year-old.

"If he didn't remember, it could probably sound different for him. I don't think it played a massive part in the match."

It is, of course, not the first time a sport star’s name has been bellowed with the vowels stretched out; not even at Wimbledon this fortnight.

When Sue Barker entered Centre Court to interview Andy Murray in his emotional farewell on Thursday, she was met with cries of 'Suuuuuuuuue'.

And when Joe Root was introduced to the crowd earlier in the tournament, he was welcomed with the same shout that greets his boundaries for England: 'Rooooooooot.'

Djokovic, who faces Australian ninth seed Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals, appeared to have seen the funny side of things by the end of his interview.

He signed off by saying: "To all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player (in this case me)... have a goooooooood night."