Djokovic slams Wimbledon crowd after being booed
LONDON — Novak Djokovic shrugged off a bad call by the chair umpire that cost him a break in his Wimbledon win over home favorite Kyle Edmund on Saturday.
He was less forgiving when it came to the way he was treated by the crowd at the All England Club.
“There is a certain unwritten borderline where you feel that it’s a bit too much,” Djokovic said about being booed at times by the partisan crowd on Centre Court. “I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was treated by certain individuals.”
Neither the crowd nor a big mistake by the umpire could unglue Djokovic, though, as the three-time champion won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the round of 16 for the 11th time at the All England Club.
He was robbed of a break at 3-3, 15-40 in the fourth set when the ball bounced twice before Edmund managed to return it over the net. Djokovic complained to the chair umpire but the call stood — even though TV replays also showed Edmund’s shot had actually landed wide.
Edmund ended up holding serve but Djokovic broke at his next opportunity to make sure there will be no British players in the second week of the tournament.
“I was 100 percent convinced it (bounced) twice,” Djokovic said.
“Anybody can make a mistake. That’s OK. But I don’t understand why he (the umpire) didn’t allow me to challenge the ball. I asked him. … So, yes, it was quite a strange decision from (the) chair umpire, but it happens.”
That wasn’t the only point of contention in the match. Djokovic got into a bit of a two-sided argument with the crowd after he was booed following a time violation in the third set. He responded by blowing kisses into the stands.
“I thought the crowd’s reaction after that (time violation) was quite unnecessary. A couple (of) guys really, you know, 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.
“Those are the things obviously that people don’t get to see or hear on the TV. I just think it’s not necessary. That’s what I didn’t like. … My interaction with the crowd, I thought had good things and not great things. I just reacted the way I thought was fair, the way they reacted to me.”
Edmund, the last British player remaining in the tournament, said he didn’t notice anything disrespectful from the crowd, but acknowledged it was a Davis Cup-like atmosphere.
“It was a great atmosphere to be in,” Edmund said. “When you’re at Centre Court, to have the crowd behind you is a great thing.”
He also insisted he was unsure whether the ball actually bounced twice on the disputed call in the fourth set.
“If in real life it’s hard to tell, then it’s hard to tell for me when I’m scrambling,” he said. “We need the umpire to get off his chair and go to the TV monitor on the side.”
It was the third time Djokovic faced a British player at Wimbledon, losing to Andy Murray in the 2013 final and beating James Ward in 2016. But this was the first time he got a reaction like this from the crowd.
“The crowd was very fair when I played against Andy. Obviously they support their player,” he said. “But today there was just some people, especially behind that end where I got the time violation, they kept on going, they kept on going, provoking. That’s something that I can tolerate for a little bit, but I’m going to show that I’m present as well, that they can’t do whatever they feel like doing.”
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