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“Gruesome Scenes” at Wimbledon: Serbian Newspaper Blames Novak Djokovic’s Booing Row on Crowd’s Hatred

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When it comes to his relationships with the audience, Novak Djokovic is no stranger to controversy in the tennis world. After defeating Holger Rune 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday night, Djokovic was the subject of a contentious discussion over Wimbledon audience conduct. A Serbian publication has responded strongly to the Serbian star’s accusation that the crowd was disrespecting him by jeering during the game.

Djokovic didn’t hold back in his on-court interview following the defeat. “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,” he stated. “And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player – in this case me – have a goooooooood night.” His remarks struck a deep chord, especially in Serbia, where the tabloid Alo! wrote a harsh editorial aimed at the British fans.

The editorial in the newspaper did not hold back, labeling the jeering onlookers as “idiots” and accusing them of putting on “gruesome scenes” that “could have made his kids cry.” According to the article, despite how awful the circumstances were, there was one bright spot: Djokovic’s desire for triumph was rekindled. “Djokovic is again ‘hungry’ to win trophies, and the English who hate him are giving him food,” the piece read. “We have no doubt at all that from Monday, the famous Serbian stubbornness will work and that Novak will do his best to shut the mouths of his haters again.”

Tennis enthusiasts and commentators are debating this subject in great detail. Many wondered what the throng at Centre Court was really yelling; others, like Rune, suggested that they were calling out “Runnnnnne,” which could be misinterpreted for jeers. “I hope they were just commenting on Rune, and they were not disrespecting you,” BBC interviewer Rishi Persad said in court, expressing hope that this was the case. Djokovic was adamant, though. “Yes, they were. He insisted, “They were [disrespecting me].” “I refuse to accept it. No, no, no. They may have been supporting Rune, but that doesn’t give them the right to boo.”

Djokovic, who has a lengthy experience of dealing with unfriendly audiences, rejected the idea that the actions were typical of the game. I’ve been on the road for almost 20 years, so pay attention. I am aware of every trick. I pay attention to the polite individuals who purchase tickets, enjoy tennis, and show appreciation for the players,” he remarked. “I played in much more hostile environments, trust me – you guys can’t touch me.”

Present on Centre Court was BBC broadcaster Sara Thornton, who shared her thoughts on the subject. Thornton disagreed with the assertion made by others that the audience was yelling “Runeeeee” instead of jeering. “As I sat on Centre Court I thought there were some absolute jerks in the crowd booing Novak #Djokovic using the disguise of the name Rune… and sadly it became infectious,” she said on X, which used to be Twitter. “But as a tennis fan, I’d say that was far outweighed by those delighting in the skillful play on both sides.”

Tennis fans are divided about the event; some agree with Djokovic’s position, while others think the audience was just excited about Rune. A fan on Center Court described an incident in which a Djokovic admirer said to the whole crowd, “show some respect for the champion.” Another admirer expressed dissatisfaction with the crowd’s actions on social media. I felt that the audiences at Wimbledon were a little more sophisticated than that. From a fan of Federer, I can say that @DjokerNole is the best player that has ever lived and he is deserving of the utmost respect. I hope the audience realizes how fortunate they are to have witnessed him perform. #Djokovic.

Opinions differed even among the players. This week at Wimbledon, Djokovic’s practice partner Nick Kyrgios thought the audience wasn’t jeering. “It wasn’t [booing] but I think crowds all around the world need to understand that Novak doesn’t need more of a motive to play better,” Kyrgios stated to BBC Sport. “I’ve seen it time and time again: the crowd tries to poke the bear, which is not what you want to do against Novak. He’s a motivated player, one of the best in the world. He adores it. I truly battle with trying not to poke the bear when I play him. It obviously cost me the Wimbledon championship. He doesn’t require any further motivation to go forth and show the world that he is the best person ever.”

The delicate relationship that exists between Novak Djokovic and the tennis world has been brought to light once again by the booing incident at Wimbledon. Regardless of whether the audience’s actions were actually disrespectful or were misinterpreted, one thing is certain: Djokovic is still a divisive character whose will to succeed only gets stronger in the face of difficulty.

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