English sports fans are fired up about their home team’s run to the World Cup semifinals.
That enthusiasm carried over to Wimbledon as fans packed Centre Court at the All England club to watch Britain’s Kyle Edmund take on Novak Djokovic in the round of 32 on Saturday.
Edmund gave the crowd something to cheer for, taking the first set against the 12-time Grand Slam champion before Djokovic prevailed, 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.
Crowd taunts Djokovic during match against home favorite
On the way to victory, Djokovic heard it from the London crowd that booed and heckled him, and he was not happy about it.
“There is a certain unwritten borderline where you feel that it’s a bit too much,” Djokovic said. “I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was treated by certain individuals.”
Djokovic chirped back and blew kisses at the taunting crowd after the chair umpire assessed him a time violation that inspired cheers and jeers from the stands.
“I thought the crowd’s reaction after that was quite unnecessary,” Djokovic said of the time violation. “A couple 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 had love for the home crowd
Edmund, not surprisingly, appreciated the backing from the stands.
“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.”
Saturday was different that past matches vs. Brits, says Djokovic
Djokovic has twice before played a British opponent at Wimbledon, losing to Andy Murray in 2013 and beating James Ward in 2016. He said that Saturday’s match against Edmund had a different tenor.
“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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