Novak Djokovic rips 'disrespectful' French Open crowd after antics

The 22-time grand slam winner had an antagonistic exchange with the French Open crowd as he defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Novak Djokovic celebrates victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on the left, and speaks at a press conference on the right.
Novak Djokovic won his third round French Open match, despite a combative exchange with the crowd. Pictures: Getty Images

Novak Djokovic has lamented the continued boos he faces at grand slam events around the world, following an antagonistic bout with the crowd in his hard-fought third-round victory at the French Open. The Serbian champion posted a straight sets victory over 29th-seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Friday, the longest such victory of his career.

Djokovic was frequently bothered by boos throughout the match, but proved it didn't bother him as he notched a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-2 over Davidovich Fokina. At just over three and a half hours in length, it was the longest straight-sets victory on Djokovic's record.

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The 36-year-old overcome some self-inflicted errors, including three double-faults in a single game at one point, to storm home in the third set after taking a medical timeout following the second set tiebreak. A typically exuberant celebration from Djokovic, who has spoken in the past about feeding off the negative energy from fans, prompted a raucous and unfriendly response from the crowd.

That crowd was again prompted into a chorus of boos when the chair umpire indicated Djokovic was taking the medical timeout between sets. This prompted Djokovic to proffer a hand wave and a sarcastic thumbs from the grand slam champion.

“A majority of the people comes to enjoy tennis or support one or the other player," Djokovic told reporters in his past-match press conference. "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.

“At times, you know, I will stay quiet. Not ‘at times’ — actually, 99 percent of the time, I will stay quiet.

“Sometimes I will oppose that, because I feel when somebody is disrespectful, he or she deserves to have an answer to that. That’s what it is all about.”

French Open third round see multitude of long matches

It was a day for long matches with Italian Lorenzo Sonego fighting back from two sets down to defeat seventh-seed Andrey Rublev, while Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner saw off Fabio Fognini in five sets.

After his epic victory over Stan Wawrinka, Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis was involved in another lengthy battle with 11th seed Karen Khachanov but was unable to force a decider, losing out 6-4 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

As for 20-year-old Carlos Alacaraz, who is looking to add a first French Open title to his US Open triumph, he put Denis Shapovalov out of his misery to set up a clash with Italy's 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti.

Carlos Alcaraz plays a backhand shot at the French Open.
Carlos Alcaraz overcame Canada's Denis Shapovalov to move on at the French Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

"I am a complete player," Alcaraz told a press conference when asked for his greatest strength as a player. "I would say the strongest thing that I have on court is push to the limit. I push the opponent to the limit every time."

Alcaraz became the youngest world No.1 when he was 19 last year. He is also the youngest top seed in Paris since Bjorn Borg back in 1976.

"I am over there, every point, playing great points and I don't lose the focus," he said. "I felt great, I think I played a great level the whole match."

With agencies

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