Novak Djokovic Advances Steadily to the Quarterfinals at Wimbledon

Djokovic is playing the violin at Wimbledon
Djokovic is playing the violin at Wimbledon (Credit: Getty Images)

It’s already dark in London and Novak Djokovic is playing the violin, having qualified for the quarter-finals (6-3, 6-4, and 6-2 against Holger Rune, in 2h 03m) and pissed off by the little tune he heard during the match, those “Ruuuuuuuune” chants from the London crowd in chorus. “To all those who have chosen to disrespect me, I wish you a gooooood night. Gooooood night, gooooood night,” he repeats 3 times. “No, no, no. I don’t accept it. I know they were cheering for him, but at the same time, it’s an excuse to boo me. I’ve been on the circuit for more than 20 years [since 2003 exactly] and, believe me, I know all the tricks and I know how things work. OK, okay, I’m focusing on the respectful people who have paid the entrance fee to come here and who love tennis and the players.” “Believe me, I’ve played in much more hostile environments than this. You can’t touch me,” the 24-time Grand Slam champion says in a heated tone.

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The 37-year-old Serbian has more than enough reasons to be happy. He has beaten Rune in a straight line, is once again among the eight best in the tournament – he will face Australian Alex de Minaur in a couple of days – and is still in a position to lift the eighth title in London, which would equal Roger Federer’s record and add another major to his record. Happiness, however, is incomplete. Djokovic wants to be loved, having repeatedly professed his love for the tournament that dazzled him when he was a child – the magic of grass and Pete Sampras – and having made a more than considerable effort to be able to be present these days, a month ago he had to undergo surgery and the rehabilitation process has been hard, so he does not quite understand those cries.

Operated on June 5 in Paris for a torn meniscus, Nole has already won four rounds and continues to progress, knee brace included, but he does not understand the attitude of the English public, who support the Nordic player in order to liven up the evening. More or less, the usual thing in tennis is taking the side of the player who is behind on the scoreboard. After winning the second set, the Balkan player throws a couple of kisses to the crowd and then launches a strong reproach in the dedication. Later, already cool, he responds in the conference room without going into too much detail on the subject. The Serbian, upset and hurt, explains himself.

“I don’t know what Wimbledon can do about it. I mean, people pay to enter and they have a right to be there and cheer however they want, they choose how they behave. Yes, maybe the chair umpire or whoever can intervene at certain moments and calm them down, but there is not much you can do. You’re not going to throw them out because they are being bad or disrespectful. That’s the way it is. It is a part of the sport,” says Nole, who has a strange relationship with the English fans. Seven-time champion of the tournament, he has no choice but to accept the local predilection for the Swiss Roger Federer. “Desperate to be loved,” The Telegraph described him at the time.

“The fans are one of the biggest reasons we are here, why the tournament is so important historically, and why we are recognized worldwide. They pay for tickets and queue up to come here, and I respect that. True tennis fans respect the players and of course, they will support one player or another; it is totally understandable that they have the freedom to choose who they support, but if someone goes too far, I react. That is basically it. After the match I said what I said…” he concludes, already thinking about regaining strength for Wednesday’s showdown with De Minaur and also disappointed. The Centre Court usually tickles him and, once again, it has found him.

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