‘You guys can’t touch me’: Djokovic irked by fans ‘disrespect’ at Wimbledon, sends fiery message

London:  Novak Djokovic has sent a fiery message to Wimbledon fans after reaching the quarterfinals as he accused some of the Centre Court crowd of using a Holger Rune chant as “an excuse to boo”.

Djokovic brushed past Holger Rune of Denmark to reach his 15th Wimbledon quarterfinal with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the latest chapter of the pair’s rivalry.

During the match, hundreds of fans greeted Rune winners, and Djokovic errors with frequently shouting ‘Runeeeeeee’ between points.

After the match, when on-court interviewer Rishi Persad asked Djokovic, “the crowd in particular seemed very into this match and obviously Holger have lots of support. You seem to enjoy your interaction with them as well?

In reply, the 24-time Grand Slam champion had a powerful message for certain fans in Centre Court, whom he accused of jeering at him throughout the intense two-hour clash.

“To all the fans who have respect and have stayed here tonight, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it,” he said. “And to all those people who have chosen to disrespect the player, in this case, me, have a goooood night. Goooood night. Goooood night. Very good night.”

Djokovic then added, “They were (disrespecting me), I don’t accept it. I know they were cheering for Rune but that is an excuse to also boo. Listen, I’ve been on the tour for more than 20 years, trust me I know 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 pay the ticket to come and watch the night and love tennis and appreciate the effort the players put in here. I’ve played in a much more hostile environment, you guys can’t touch me.”

Later, in a post-match press conference, Rune said that Djokovic was mistaken to think the crowd was booing him.

“It all started in the US Open the first time we played each other in 2021,” he explained. “They were shouting my name ‘Ruuune’ and it sounded a bit like ‘boo’. If you don’t know what’s happening, it probably sounded like ‘boo’. But it was my name. But he’s played so many matches since it happened last time, he probably didn’t remember,” said Rune.

By advancing to the last eight at Wimbledon for the 15th time, Djokovic claimed second place in the all-time list for most quarter-final appearances at the grass-court major, moving past Jimmy Connors (14). Only record eight-time champion Roger Federer has advanced to the quarterfinals more (18), according to ATP stats.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion, who reached his 60th Grand Slam quarterfinal, is aiming to equal Federer’s haul of eight Wimbledon titles this fortnight and he will next face Alex de Minaur.


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