Millennium Post

No love for Djoker!

Former world number one Novak Djokovic was livid with Wimbledon's Centre Court crowd on Saturday, claiming fans "whistled and coughed" as he prepared to serve, insisting he doesn't deserve such shoddy treatment. The three-time champion described the sometimes surcharged atmosphere on the hallowed arena as similar to that of a Davis Cup tie as he overpowered home favourite Kyle Edmund 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Djokovic was furious with the reaction of a section of the crowd after he had been given a time violation for bouncing the ball too often. "I thought the crowd's reaction was quite unnecessary. A couple of guys pretending they were coughing and whistling while I was bouncing the ball more or less to the end of the match at that end where I received the time violation," said former world number one Djokovic. "Those are the things obviously that people don't get to see or hear on the TV. I think it's not necessary. That's what I didn't like." Djokovic responded by sarcastically blowing kisses to the crowd and cupping his ear as he unleashed the winning strokes that took him into a 44th last-16 appearance at the Grand Slams. "If you were in my position, you would probably understand," said the 12-time major winner. "I'm a human being like anybody else, I can feel the pressure as everybody else.

"My interaction with the crowd, I thought had good things and not that great things. I just reacted the way I thought it was fair, the way they reacted to me." In a topsy-turvy encounter, Djokovic was also furious when he was denied a break of serve in the seventh game of the fourth set when the ball bounced twice before Edmund hit what was ruled a winner. Djokovic is a very likable, popular, and respected player but it's true that he doesn't command the same level of an international following as Federer or Nadal. This is baffling as he's been the dominant force in tennis over the past few years and has enjoyed greater success than Federer and Nadal. It is not hard to like the guy, after all. He is already one of the greatest players tennis the world has seen; he's compassionate enough to share the umbrella with the ballboy; he's cool enough to play ballboy for the kids once in a while. Federer and Nadal have always been crowd favourites wherever they have played. They have never faced the kind of hostility that was dished to the Serbian superstar. Novak certainly deserved a little more respect from British tennis fans. Djokovic next plays Russian world number 40 Karen Khachanov for a place in the quarter-finals.

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