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Saturday, September 23, 2023

They can do as they like: Novak Djokovic reacts to fans who boo everything after French Open win

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Novak Djokovic has seen a lot of negativity during his tennis matches, whether it be from his support group, the public, or the criticism from spectators. However, he says that they can do as they like.

The fact that Novak Djokovic enjoys consuming negativity during a tennis match is no secret. It doesn’t really matter if he has a lead or a deficit in the standings. Simply put, the guy is inspired and motivated by all kinds of slights, both actual and imagined.

It can be the way Djokovic’s support group is sitting still in the audience rather than standing to cheer him on… or the backlash he encounters for becoming involved in a political matter, all of which have already occurred during this French Open.

Perhaps it’s how the public treats him, like they did on Friday during Djokovic’s 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-2 triumph against 29th-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third round of the Roland Garros tournament. They often get on his case and jeer him for whatever reason.

That’s what happened at Court Philippe Chatrier during the longest three-set Grand Slam match—clocking in at 3 hours, 36 minutes—in the lengthy and illustrious career of 22-time major champion Novak Djokovic. He wasn’t delighted with how challenging the match had been, didn’t appreciate double-faulting three times in one game, and especially didn’t like the criticism from some of the spectators.

“The vast majority of visitors attend to enjoy tennis or to cheer on a certain player. But each of them is unique. There are individuals, organizations, or anything that like to jeer at whatever you do. I honestly don’t understand it, and I find that to be insulting,” Djokovic remarked later at his press conference. However, he says, “It is their right. The ticket was paid for. They are free to do as they like.” Djokovic took control of the tiebreaker after trailing 5-4 in the second set and was two points away from losing. The set was now his, so Djokovic took a few steps toward the sidelines before reacting by striking the air, turning around, delivering an uppercut, holding his right fist high, and yelling. He then took the following three points, each of which concluded with a mistake by Davidovich Fokina.

That elicited some hostile comments from several people in the crowd. The chair umpire’s announcement that Djokovic was taking a medical break to have a trainer massage his upper left leg added fuel to the fire of his critics.

Djokovic heard the criticism and gestured in response while he was seated in his chair, shirtless and with a white towel around his shoulders. He gestured with his hand as if to say, “Give me more!” He nodded and offered a sarcastic thumbs-up. He cheered. He laughed while shaking his head.

“You know, sometimes I’ll keep silent. In fact, I will be silent 99% of the time, said Djokovic, who won the French Open in 2016 and 2021. He is vying for a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal and has the opportunity to become the first person to win at least three trophies at each Slam location. “There are instances when I’ll disagree with it because I believe that if someone is rude, they should be given the opportunity to respond. That is its fundamental purpose. Other seeded players who advanced, in addition to No. 3 Djokovic, were No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas—who finished second to Djokovic in both the Australian Open and Paris two years ago—No. 11 Karen Khachanov, and No. 17 Lorenzo Musetti, who defeated No. 14 Cam Norrie. In the last match of the night on Friday, Lorenzo Sonego upset No. 7 Andrey Rublev and Juan Pablo Varillas defeated No. 13 Hubert Hurkacz with scores of 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2.

Denis Shapovalov, ranked No. 26, was defeated by Alcaraz in the night session 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. “I was in trouble,” Alcaraz said after falling down 4-1 in the second set. However, the defending U.S. Open winner won seven straight games to seize the initiative.

In contrast, Djokovic will face 27-year-old Peruvian Varillas, who is rated 94th and has never won a Grand Slam match prior to this week. He will play Musetti, who defeated him in their only prior meeting.

Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 9 Daria Kasatkina, and 2021 runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova all advanced to the women’s fourth round, however No. 3 Jessica Pegula was eliminated.

After losing to Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-3, Pegula swiftly packed her bags and made her way out of the main stadium—a much quicker exit than the American has recently experienced at Grand Slam competitions.

She has never advanced past that level at a Grand Slam, and on a day with a breeze of about 10 mph (15 kph), a cold in the low 60s Fahrenheit (low teens Celsius), and a match against the 28th-seeded Mertens, she never really got into it.

Pegula remarked, “I feel like I was still playing decent points. My parents control the Buffalo Bills of the NFL and the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL. Elise was simply being really tough by not making many mistakes and forcing me to play every ball. I believed that the windy circumstances absolutely aided her strategy. Four of the top 10 women’s seeds are already gone, with Pegula joining No. 5 Caroline Garcia, No. 8 Maria Sakkari, and No. 10 Petra Kvitova on the sidelines. That fits into a pattern at Roland Garros this year: The fewest seeds to advance through two rounds in Paris since the field was increased to 32 seeds in 2002 were only 12 seeds.

Nitin Bhatnagar
Nitin Bhatnagar
I am an avid writer with a passion for writing on different topics related to Bollywood, Hollywood, sports, health, current affairs, viral stuff and news.

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