'Rooooone!' Novak Djokovic is convinced Holger Rune fans booed him at Wimbledon


Novak Djokovic is convinced he was being booed Monday night at Wimbledon.

Don’t try to convince him otherwise — that would just be ruuuuude.

During a fourth-round match against Denmark’s Holger Rune (whose last name is pronounced ROO-na), Djokovic was clearly annoyed by the way fans at Centre Court cheered his opponent — loudly drawing out the “ooo” in a manner that is rather common at sporting events (or Bruce Springsteen concerts).

The 24-time Grand Slam champion thought it was a thinly veiled effort to boo him. At one point, he even appeared to discuss the matter with the chair umpire. After his straight-set victory, Djokovic gave fans a taste of their own medicine.

“To all the fans that have respect and that stayed here tonight, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate it,” Djokovic said during an on-court interview with BBC’s Rishi Pershad. “And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player — in this case, me — have a goooood night. Goooood night. Goooood night. Very good night.”

Pershad said he hoped the fans were not disrespecting Djokovic, but the seven-time Wimbledon champion shook his head.

“They were. They were. They were. I don’t accept it,” said Djokovic, who will face Australia’s Alex De Minaur in the quarterfinals Thursday. “I know they were cheering for Rune. But that’s an excuse to also boo. Listen, I’ve been on the tour for more than 20 years.

“So, trust me, I know all 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 paid [for a] ticket to come and watch tonight, and love tennis. And love tennis and appreciate the players and the effort that the players put in here.

“I played in much more hostile environments, trust me. You guys can’t touch me.”

A few boos — or perhaps a few “Rooooones” — could be heard among the cheers during and after Djokovic’s speech.

During his news conference, Djokovic admitted that paying fans have the right to express themselves.

“The crowd paid their tickets,” he said. “They have the right to be there and cheer the way they want to cheer. That’s absolutely something they choose — how they behave or how they choose to support the player is really up to them.”

Rune was asked in his post-match news conference about Djokovic’s reaction to the fans.

“If you don’t know what was happening, probably it sounded like ‘boo.’ But … it was my name,” Rune said. “He’s played so many matches since he played me last time. If he didn’t remember, it could probably sound different for him. But I don’t think it played a massive part in the match. He was just better than me today.”

Rune added: “I think it was great support for both players to be honest. They were supporting him on good points. They were supporting me. Nice scenes on Centre Court.”

Later, during a BBC interview, Djokovic answered more questions from Pershad about his reaction to the fans.

“When I feel that a crowd is stepping over the line, I react,” Djokovic said. “I don’t regret my words or actions on the court.”

Djokovic eventually grew tired of the topic.

“Do you have any questions other than the crowd?” he asked Pershad after another question. “I mean, are you focused only on that or any questions about the match, or something like that? Or is it solely focused on that? … This is the third question already, I said what I have to say, maybe we can speak about something else.”

Pershad quickly mentioned the upcoming quarterfinal against De Minaur.

“Yeah, I look forward to it. It’s gonna be a tough one. Thanks,” Djokovic said before abruptly walking out of the interview. Pershad had just started mentioning De Minaur’s popularity with the crowd at Wimbledon.



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