Djokovic Finds Support From McEnroe Over Wimbledon Crowd Incident

Djokovic Finds Support From McEnroe Over Wimbledon Crowd Incident

by Zachary Wimer

Novak Djokovic had a row with part of the Wimbledon crowd, but he found support from John McEnroe, who has been one of hia fiercest defenders in recent years.

There are some connecting dots between McEnroe and Djokovic, which is likely part of the reason why the former American player has been so sympathetic to the 24-time major winner.

They're both known to clash with crowds, and while McEnroe has been more controversial in his career, the Serbian player certainly had some moments that resembled McEnroe on the tennis court.

Holger Rune, for example, defended the crowd when he was asked about the incident, but Djokovic has been open about finding their behavior disrespectful. McEnroe sided with Djokovic because he feels like he's been unfairly compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal throughout his tennis career.

When talking to BBC at SW19, McEnroe has been open about his belief that the greatness, especially when it comes to crowds, of those two negatively impacted Djokovic, who doesn't get enough respect.

"He doesn’t deserve this.’ He’s been battling this for his whole career. Yes he feeds off negative energy. And yes I did feed off that at times. But I hated it in a way. Do you want people yelling against you hoping you’ll lose?"

"Just because you’re so good they start pulling for the other guy for no reason other than you’re so good. That’s the reason people go against him in my opinion."

"He’s like the Darth Vader compared to… look, there’s two of the greatest class acts we’ve ever seen play tennis. Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer. Who can compare to them in terms of what they brought to the table and the way people love them? Nobody. And then this guy Djokovic has the nerve to come in and break into the party…."

McEnroe then continued his defense of Djokovic, pointing out how inappropriate it is that the crowd is not backing him when he's done so much for tennis and pushed himself to be at an event where he didn't even have to play, given he had surgery recently.

"It’s like ‘How about respecting me after all this?’ Think about this… here’s a guy who had surgery a month ago. The odds are were 10 or 20% that he’d even play this tournament. He’s thinking ‘I’m helping this tournament.’ Which he is. ‘Why don’t I get some love when I’m playing a guy who’s 15 in the world?’ Who hasn’t done a damn thing compared to him."

The former American ATP player still recognized that there may have been some Danish supporters, but he, like Djokovic, though that most of the crowd just wanted to support against the Serbian player, like they've done over the years.

"Yes there were maybe a handful of Danish people going ‘Rune’ and I get that people want to see a good match. We all wanna see a good match. But you have to respect the greatness that you see. It’s easy to be the backseat driver and let it go."

"But this is what he’s been dealing with for 10, 15, 20 years that people have been doing this. I admire the guts that he had to say it there. That takes something. That’s in a way gonna put more people against him. He doesn’t deserve that at this stage. We need him and he’s been too great for our game in my opinion."


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