Wimbledon | Djokovic thumps Rune and blasts the Dane’s supporters

Novak Djokovic eased into his 15th Wimbledon quarter-final with a more-comfortable-than-expected 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Holger Rune in just over two hours on Centre Court.

To all the fans that have respect for me tonight, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate it. And to all those people who have chosen to disrespect a player, in this case me, have a gooooooodddd night! Gooodddd night, goooddd night! Very good night Novak Djokovic

And he verbally blasted at a section of the Danish 15th seed’s support for showing him “disrespect” after sealing a date with Australian Alex Minaur.

Those fans were repeatedly chanted a loud “Ruuuuune” throughout the match.

Djokovic, aiming for a record-equalling eighth title, said: “To all the fans that have respect for me tonight, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate it. And to all those people who have chosen to disrespect a player, in this case me, have a gooooooodddd night! Gooodddd night, goooddd night! Very good night.”

His post-match interviewer, Rishi Persad of the BBC suggested: “I think they were just commenting on Rune and not disrespecting you.”

But the 24-time Grand Slam champion replied: “They were. I don’t accept it. No, no no. I know 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 Ok. I focus on the respectful people. They have respect, they pay the ticket to come and watch tonight and love tennis and appreciate the players and the effort they put in.

“I’ve played in much more hostile environments. Trust me. You guys can’t touch me.”

Victory ensured he became the third 37-year-old or older after Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer, to make the last eight in the Open era.

He said: “I’m very pleased. I don’t think he has played close to his best to be honest. It was a tough start for him. He lost the first 12 points and I think that got to him mentally.

“Waiting all day to come out on the court is never easy. The tension is building up every hour that passes and get more and more tense and stressed to get out on the court.

“On my end I think I‘ve done things the right way at the important moments. Things could have looked different if I lost those services games but very solid at the end and I’m very happy to get through in straight sets. Very solid performance. Glad to get through.”


Novak Djokovic was in excellent form

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

It was always going to be an uphill battle for Rune.

Djokovic’s numbers at The Championships would be enough to worry anyone up against him. He had won 37 of his previous 38 matches, making his 16th appearance in the last 16, and, of course, there were his seven trophy triumphs. Overall, he has now reached the last eight of a Slam a record 60 times as he aimed for his 374th major win.

Beyond the figures there was the challenge of facing an individual with the near perfect all round game and a seemingly insatiable hunger after two decades.

Djokovic might have promised “fireworks” in the clash of generations – the Dane 16 years his junior – but Rune struggled to find his spark at the start.

There might have been a chink in the Djokovic armour to exploit with the Serbian reported as saying the right knee he had an operation a month ago, was “far from OK”.

And that Rune might unsettle Djokovic by playing the “villain” as suggested by BBC commentator Nick Kyrgios, so often painted one on court himself as a player.

But Rune was immediately back on his heels. Djokovic won the first 12 points of the match and up 3-0 with his Danish opponent without any answers, looking bewildered.

The edgy Next Gen player and former world No.4 smiled as he finally won a point in the fourth game and held.

But the 21-year-old searched in vain for a break point while Djokovic managed to break him once and go on and seal the first set.

Rune managed to hold on to his serve for the first part of the second set, but his first serve was only around 50 per cent successful, which was clearly not enough to trouble a player rated as the best returner in the game by many experts.

In the seventh game the Dane was broken. Djokovic might have had a stomach problem – he went off court clutching it during the set — to go with that dodgy right knee. But he wasn’t ready to slow down any time soon. And he had a clutch of points to break Rune again, but his opponent held on.

Djokovic managed to double his lead in the next game, although he had to survive a break point of his own after a spectacular rally with his opponent encouraged by eery loud, elongated chants of “Ruuuune’.

As he walked back to his chair, Djokovic pursed his lips defiantly and gave those Rune supporters a hard stare.

The Serbian had the bit between his teeth and broke Rune early in the third.

And he earned a second in the seventh of it. The end for Rune was nigh. And he was put to the sword soon afterwards.


Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Holger Rune before turning on his supporters

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)



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