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Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his fourth round match against Denmark's Holger Rune in the Wimbledon Championship in London on July 8. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL CHILDS.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his fourth round match against Denmark's Holger Rune in the Wimbledon Championship in London on July 8. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL CHILDS.

London — Novak Djokovic produced his best display so far at the 2024 Wimbledon tournament to dispatch Denmark’s Holger Rune 6-3 6-4 6-2 and reach the quarterfinals, before launching a tirade against “disrespectful” fans on Monday.

The 37-year-old Serb won the opening 12 points of his Centre Court clash against the 15th seed and apart from a minor blip at the end of the second set was clinical throughout as he reached the last eight at Wimbledon for the 15th time in his career.

But the seven-time champion was riled by some of the crowd, who greeted Rune's occasional moments of brilliance with chants of “Ruuune!”, and did not hold back in his on-court interview.

“Well to all the fans that have respect and stayed here tonight, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart I appreciate it,” Djokovic said.

“And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player, in this case, me, have a goooooood night!”

When the on-court interviewer interjected and suggested the fans had merely been chanting the name of his young opponent, Djokovic begged to differ.

“I don't accept that, no, no, no. I know there they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo. “Listen, I've been on the Tour for more than 20 years. So trust me, I know all the tricks. I know how it works. It’s fine. It’s fine,” Djokovic said.

“I focus on respectful people that have respect that paid the ticket to come and watch tonight and love tennis and appreciate the players and the effort they’re putting in. I’ve played in much more hostile environments. Trust me, you guys, you guys can’t touch me.”

It was a strange postscript to a one-sided match in which Djokovic put down a serious statement of intent under the roof, closed again on yet another rainy day in southwest London.

Any doubts about the knee that was operated on after he withdrew from the French Open were dispelled as he glided around the Centre Court turf in his usual silky precise fashion.

His only brief blip came when Rune served at 3-5 in the second set and Djokovic fell 0-40 behind, but he managed to save those set points and three more before holding serve.

In the next game, Rune suddenly looked dangerous and had a point to get back to 5-5 but once Djokovic saved that and brought up another set point with a backhand threaded down the line, which he then converted, it was as good as over.

The 21-year-old Rune occasionally produced the kind of shot-making that makes him so good to watch but there were too many errors and a lack of belief, as he lost a 10th successive Tour-level match against a top-five opponent.

Djokovic, bidding to become the first player to win 25 Grand Slam titles, will contest his record-extending 60th Grand Slam quarterfinal against Australia’s Alex De Minaur on Wednesday.

“I'm feeling good,” he said.

“Alex is one of the quickest if not the quickest player on the Tour. So you know I’m going to have to do a lot of running.

“But I’m enjoying my running still at 37, so I’m OK.”

Reuters

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