Novak Djokovic blasts ‘disrespectful’ booing from French Open crowd during his third-round victory as controversy continues to follow the World No. 3 at Roland Garros
- Novak Djokovic faced jeers from the fans at Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday
- The World No. 3 has faced backlash following anti-Kosovo comments this week
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Novak Djokovic appeared irked by the booing from the French Open spectators during his victory over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Djokovic fought off a terrific challenge from Davidovich Fokina to reach the fourth round of the French Open for a 14th consecutive year with a 7-6 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-2 victory.
Throughout the three-hour-and-36-minute contest, the Roland Garros crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier jeered and booed the Serb for seemingly no reason at all.
Following the longest three-set Grand Slam match of his career Djokovic appeared displeased by the crowd’s reaction but brushed it off.
‘A majority of the people come to enjoy tennis or support one or the other player,’ Djokovic said following his match, according to ESPN.
Novak Djokovic appeared irked by the booing from the French Open spectators
The crowd jeered the Serb during his straight-sets victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
He beat the Spanaird 7-6 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-2 victory in a three-hour-and-36-minute contest
‘But they are individuals. There are people — there are groups or whatever — that love to boo every single thing you do. That’s something that I find disrespectful and I frankly don’t understand that.
‘But it’s their right. They paid the ticket. They can do whatever they want.’
After being two points from dropping the second set, trailing 5-4 in that tiebreaker, Djokovic snatched the next three points and pounced on the chance to take the second set from Davidovich Fokina.
Djokovic let his emotions out, roaring and fist-pumping, which didn’t endear him to the French crowd that let out some unfriendly noise.
The World No. 3’s French Open campaign has already been mired in controversy as he looks to become the most successful male player in the sport’s history over the next fortnight, currently level with French Open titan Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic scribbled on the camera that ‘Kosovo is the heart of Serbia’ after his match on Monday. It was a nod to how his native Serbia has never formally accepted Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008, despite being recognized by 100 countries and the ITF.
The World No. 3 branded the booking ‘disrespectful’ in his post-match press conference
His fist-pumping didn’t endear him to the French crowd that let out some unfriendly noise
Djokovic’s message read ‘Kosovo is the heart of Serbia! Stop the violence’ earlier in the week
His actions earned him a warning from the French sports minister that his nationalist, anti-Kosovo message was ‘not appropriate’ and the Serbian has been told to ‘not get involved’ with politics again at Roland Garros.
French minister Amelie Oudea-Castera told French TV: ‘This message is very activist, very political. You shouldn’t get involved, especially in the current circumstances, and it shouldn’t happen again.’
Oudea-Castera, a former tennis player herself, also said that French Open chief Amelie Mauresmo had spoken with the 22-time Grand Slam winner and his team to emphasize the principle of political neutrality on the tour.
Kosovo’s head of Olympic Committee, Ismet Krasniqi, said Djokovic had ‘promoted nationalist propaganda and used his sporting platform to do so’. He added: ‘The statements made without any remorse directly resulted in raising the level of tension and violence between the nations.’