Novak Djokovic shows Holger Rune and boorish fans do not affect him

Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic in Wimbledon 2024 (PC: Wimbledon)

This is something new, and not sportsman-like, baiting Novak Djokovic. At the Centre Court in Wimbledon on Monday evening, tennis fans were at their boorish best (or worst). If that was supposed to egg on Holger Rune and make it miserable for the Serbian, quite the opposite happened as the man chasing his 25th Grand Slam hit cruise control button and sailed into the quarter-finals.

Another great passage into the last eight stage at The Championships, this was dominance, defined by brilliant stroke production from Novak the ‘Baseline Baron,’ who cranked up big serves when needed most. A three-set win against Rune was ruthless, even though the way Novak handled all the negativity from the fans was in poor taste.

This is not the first time Novak has been at the receiving end from fans, for no fault of his. If there is dislike for him, then fans have a choice of not watching him play. But, if the plan of fans is to disrupt Novak, no way. He is like a monk in meditation even when he competes, as he showed Rune what it is to produce a tapestry of tennis which was enchanting to watch.

A 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win for Novak in two hours and three minutes was a clear indicator, he will not tolerate any kind of rubbish, be it fan behaviour or the tennis his opponent Rune dished out. Facts first, it’s still less than five weeks since Novak Djokovic underwent a surgery on his knee for a meniscus tear. How he bounced back and started working on rehab and strengthening is still baffling for many.

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Novak Djokovic looking focussed in Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic looking focussed in Wimbledon 2024 (PC: Wimbledon) 

No, not for Novak. He believes in inner healing, he does yoga, meditation and also carries his drinking water supply from home. He believes in positive energy from the Pyramids and how the water from there has a magical effect as well. All this is not fiction, these are facts. In the past, one has also read Novak has a Krishna idol at home.

Indeed, for those who believe in miracles and faith, Novak believed he can be back on his knees and play. The way he tested his knees at practice, with that open patella strap on, he was being protective. But then, the way he is playing now, all zing and zip, for Rune, this was a rude shock. He needed to step up, he needed to produce more punch in his tennis. That did not happen, against Novak.

For his part, Novak did speak about the loutish fan behaviour on Centre Court where he explained the difference between cheering for Rune and mocking him. It does not matter, he does not mind it.

“Look, I don’t know what Wimbledon can really do about it (bad behaviour). I mean, in those particular moments when it happens, the crowd paid their tickets. 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. Yes, you could argue maybe a chair umpire or whoever can step in in certain moments and calm them down, but there’s not much you can do. You’re not going to take out the whole section of the crowd or stadium because they’re misbehaving or showing disrespect,” said Novak Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic in a light mood in Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic in a light mood in Wimbledon 2024 (PC: Wimbledon)

And then, Novak the maestro was sarcastic as well, subtly! “It’s just the way it is. It’s part of the sport. It’s actually one of the biggest reasons why we are here, why the tournament is so important historically and why we were globally recognised as tennis players, is because of the fans, because of the interest that they put into watching tennis matches, paying tickets, queuing to come. I respect that. I try to acknowledge that,” said Novak.

For those who believe Aussies can still win in tennis at the Majors, there is a romance blossoming at Wimbledon. It has to do with tennis as well as real life love as Alex De Minaur needed four sets to beat Arthur Fils for a passage into the last eight.

“I’ll take all the support I can get, 100 percent. I can be the honorary Brit here at Wimbledon,” said De Minaur. “”I do feel very loved out there. Over the years I feel like the support I’ve had has grown significantly,” said the Aussie later.

For those not aware, Alex De Minaur has been dating British No.1 Katie Boulter. Everyone knows the relationship between Britain and Australia, the people Down Under still bow before monarchy. So, Alex De MInaur is hoping he will be getting more support from fans in future as well. He takes on Novak Djokovic next and will fancy his chances. Even though Alex De Minaur had a fall on court on Monday, he seems on a sure footing. How he handles Novak will be interesting to watch since he has played well on grass.

The Aussie won a warm-up title on grass in Netherlands last month in the run-up to Wimbledon. How much he can carry forward that momentum will be watched against Novak.

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