Novak Djokovic took on the Wimbledon crowd in a fiery on court interview on Centre Court, despite being informed three years ago that chants aimed at Holger Rune were not boos.

Djokovic cruised to a straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Rune on Monday night in a dominant display.

The crowd sought to provide support to his opponent by chanting ‘Ruuuuuuune’, as the Dane struggled to fight back into the match.

Despite the comfortable nature of his victory, Djokovic had fired back at the crowd in a post-match interview.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion appeared to have been told by the umpire during the match that the crowd were merely chanting Rune’s name, rather than directing boos at him.

Novak Djokovic took aim at the Centre Court crowd on Monday, accusing them of disrespecting him

Djokovic had previously been informed chants supporting opponent Holger Rune were not boos aimed at him back at the 2021 US Open

Djokovic had previously been informed chants supporting opponent Holger Rune were not boos aimed at him back at the 2021 US Open

Rune, left, had been supported by the US Open crowd as the then 18-year-old Grand Slam debutant took a set off Djokovic in the first round

Rune, left, had been supported by the US Open crowd as the then 18-year-old Grand Slam debutant took a set off Djokovic in the first round

The match had been Djokovic’s sixth meeting with Rune in his career, with the first coming at the US Open back in 2021.

Djokovic had been confused by similar chants after a then 18-year-old Grand Slam debutant Rune won the second set of their first round match, before the Serbian star triumphed in four sets.

‘Getting back to the crowd in the second set and they are chanting Rune, I was wondering what was going through your mind?’ Djokovic was asked in a post-match press conference.

‘I didn’t know what they were chanting, honestly, I thought they were booing,’ Djokovic replied. ‘Okay, I don’t know.

‘It was not an ideal atmosphere for me to tell you that, but I have been in this particular atmospheres before, so I knew how to handle it.’

Djokovic added: ‘Obviously you always wish to have the crowd behind you but it is not always possible, that is all I can say.

‘I have been focusing on myself and what I need to do and see how it feels on the court and try to keep it together, it is all I can do.’

Djokovic, who has been no stranger to taking on a hostile crowd, made similar comments after his latest match with Rune on Centre Court. 

Djokovic had admitted after the match he had thought the chants were boos aimed at him

Djokovic had admitted after the match he had thought the chants were boos aimed at him

Similar chants were made in favour of Rune at Wimbledon as the Dane struggled during a straight sets defeat on Monday

Similar chants were made in favour of Rune at Wimbledon as the Dane struggled during a straight sets defeat on Monday

Djokovic was informed that the crowd were likely shouting 'Runeeee' but he did not accept this

Djokovic was informed that the crowd were likely shouting ‘Runeeee’ but he did not accept this

The seven-time champion turned his on-court interview into a rant about what he felt were boos directed at him during his straight-sets win on Monday evening.

‘To all the fans that have had respect and stayed here tonight, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I appreciate it,’ he began. ‘And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player – in this case me – have a goooooooood night.’

BBC interviewer Rishi Persad said: ‘I am hoping they were just commenting on Rune, and they were not disrespecting you.’

Djokovic dismissed the suggestion, insisting: ‘They were. They were [disrespecting me]. I am not accepting it. No no no. I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo.

‘Listen, I have been on the tour for more than 20 years. I know all the tricks. I focus on the respectful people that pay for the ticket, and love tennis and appreciate the players. I played in much more hostile environments, trust me – you guys can’t touch me.’

The 37-year-old seemed to believe some in the crowd were masking boos in the pretence of supporting Rune.

In his press conference later, Djokovic stood by what he had said.

‘When I feel a crowd is stepping over the line, I react,’ he said. ‘I don’t regret my words or actions on the court.’

He also tweeted a photo after the game of him stretching for a ball across the court, with the caption: ‘Sliding into quarters. Goooooooooooood night.’

Nick Kyrgios – who is also known for his on-court meltdowns, told BBC Sport afterwards: ‘It wasn’t [booing] but I think crowds all around the world need to understand that Novak doesn’t need more of a motive to play better.

‘He’s driven, one of the best players in the world and I’ve seen it time and time again, the crowd try to poke the bear and that’s not what you want to do against Novak.

‘He loves it. I try not to poke the bear when I play him…and I really struggle with that. Obviously it cost me my Wimbledon final.

‘He doesn’t need more of a motive to go out there and prove to someone he is the greatest of all time.’

Clare Balding also waded in, saying: ‘When Sue Barker came out the other day people who shouting ‘Suuuuuuuuuuuue’. I don’t think it’s booing.’

The seven-time champion turned his on-court interview into a rant about what he felt were boos directed at him

The seven-time champion turned his on-court interview into a rant about what he felt were boos directed at him

Djokovic was annoyed with the Wimbledon crowd throughout the match, and would not accept the explanation from a BBC interviewer that they had only been backing his opponent

Djokovic was annoyed with the Wimbledon crowd throughout the match, and would not accept the explanation from a BBC interviewer that they had only been backing his opponent

Djokovic has not always had the best relationship with the crowd. He is seen blowing them a kiss here after winning match point against Rune

Djokovic has not always had the best relationship with the crowd. He is seen blowing them a kiss here after winning match point against Rune

Djokovic’s relationship with the crowd has not always been a friendly one. After beating Roger Federer in the 2019 final, his former coach Boris Becker said he deserved more respect from the crowd who had backed the Swiss star.

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

Last year, he also played up to the crowd as he took on 20-year-old Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

With the crowd backing underdog Alcaraz at times, Djokovic again blew kisses at the fans.

He was also met with boos during the final when he dented the net post by smashing his racket in frustration, argued with the umpire and glared at the Centre Court crowd.

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