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09th Jul 2024

Novak Djokovic storms out of interview after accusing Wimbledon crowd of ‘disrespecting’ him

Harry Warner


The tennis player remains as divisive as ever

Novak Djokovic walked out of an interview with BBC in a huff after snapping at a reporter.

The tension rose when Rishi Pershad questioned the Serbian tennis player’s reaction to what he believed were fans booing him at Wimbledon on Centre Court.

The second seed claimed that fans were elongating Rune’s surname while cheering as a way to mimic boos directed at Djokovic.

Pershad asked Djokovic whether he stood by the comments he made that Centre Court had “disrespected” him during his victory over Holger Rune the day prior.

On court, after his win over Rune, the tennis legend said: “I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo.

“I have been on the tour for more than 20 years. I know all the tricks.”

Is his interview for the BBC he was asked about these comments with Djokovic clearly becoming irritated with Pershad’s line of questioning, focusing solely on the Centre Court incident.

Djokovic simply replied “Same,” when he was asked on his thoughts about his comments the day earlier.

Pershad then asked if Djokovic felt that he got the respect that he deserves as a seven-time winner.

The Serbian replied: “As I said in the post-match interview, I think most of the people in the stadium were respectful and I thank them and know that after watching tennis all day it’s not easy.

“I was thankful, I don’t take it for granted, they are a big part of why I still play, the crowds who appreciate what we do and the effort we put in.”

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

However, when a third question was asked concerning the matter Djokovic finally broke from the media trained answering.

He said: “Do you have any questions other than the crowd? 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 then went on to ask one question about Djokovic’s next opponent, Alex de Minaur, after which the 37-year-old walked out, despite Pershad trying to continue the interview.

Djokovic is no stranger to controversy, especially at Wimbledon where he has often been divisive.

Two years ago he was booed after blowing a kiss to fans following his semi-final win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie.

Despite winning the most grand-slams of all time, the Serbian is rarely the most supported player, something he has questioned in the past.

His spats with crowds, occasionally originating from the lack of support he receives has created a vicious cycle where he has failed to reach the kind of support seen for legend such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic will face Alex de Minaur tomorrow on Centre Court at 14:45 in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.