'What's going on': Novak Djokovic and rival baffled by crowd antics

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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Novak Djokvovic (pictured left) talking after his US Open win and Holger Rune (pictured right) suffering with cramp.
Novak Djokvovic (pictured left) and young opponent Holger Rune (pictured right) were confused over the crowds support at the US Open on Arthur Ashe Arena. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic overcame a fired up Grand Slam debutant to reach the second round of the US Open, but the World No.1 and his opponent were confused over the crowds support throughout the contest.

Djokovic has always endured a tough relationship with crowds at Grand Slams, but the US Open has always been one destination where he has struggled to win them over.

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However, against 18-year-old Holger Rune, the crowd were fiercely supporting the World No.154 as he made inroads and took the second set.

But, the Denmark youngster was crippled with cramp for the remainder of the match and looked shattered as he limped to a 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 defeat to the World No.1.

Djokovic embraced the 18-year-old at the net and appeared to offer some words of encouragement for the tennis prospect, before exiting the court.

Fans noticed Djokovic didn't offer his unique post-match celebration of thanking the crowd.

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Some questioned whether this was due to the crowds fierce support for Rune, or whether it was out of respect of his injured opponent.

Djokovic later responded to questions regarding what he thought of the crowds favouritism for his younger opponent.

The World No.1, and many fans watching on TV, mistook the crowds exaggerated chants of 'Rune' as boos.

Some pointed out Djokovic appeared quite 'sad' at the press conference when once against addressing the crowds choice not to support him.

"I didn't know what they were chanting honestly. I thought they were booing. I don't know, yeah, it was not ideal atmosphere for me to tell you that," he said.

"But I've been in these particular atmospheres before, so I knew how to handle it."

"You always wish to have crowd behind you, but it's not always possible. That's all I can say. I've been focusing on myself and what I need to do. I guess I have to just see how it feels on the court and try to keep it together. That's all I can do."

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Surprisingly, Rune also mistook the crowds support.

He said it wasn't until the very end did he realise the crowd had been passionately cheering for him.

"At one point they were cheering for me; another point they were booing. I was like, What is going on?" he said.

"All of a sudden, after the match I heard they said 'Rune.' When I heard that, I was happy because I didn't understand it in the match."

The tennis community were left surprised with just how strongly the crowd cheered against Djokovic.

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Novak Djokovic's classy act for shattered opponent

Regardless, Djokovic showed his class for his defeated rival.

The 18-year-old Grand Slam debutant was clearly distraught after having faded in their thriller due to cramp.

However, Djokovic embraced the youngster at the net and offered some kinds words following his win.

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"We just had a little chat in the locker room. It's an emotional moment for him. It's not easy to see that," he said to reporters after the match.

"He's really sad. I understand that. I've been through that. I just told him that he handled himself extremely well."

Djokovic goes into the year's final major of the year with the chance to complete one of the rarest feats in tennis - a calendar year Grand Slam.

The Serbian superstar drew level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's all-time record of 20 grand slam singles titles after capturing titles at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021.

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