NOVAK DJOKOVIC was ‘disrespected’ during his defeat to Rafael Nadal at the French Open, according to his coach.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was ‘disrespected’ at the French Open during his quarter-final defeat to rival Rafael Nadal, according to his coach Goran Ivanisevic. Djokovic and Nadal put on a show for the Parisian crowd, with the 21-time Grand Slam champion winning 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) on Tuesday.
Novak Djokovic fell to his Spanish rival in a thrilling match that lasted four hours and 12 minutes on Tuesday night. Ivanisevic, who has coached the Serb since 2019, revealed he has struggled to sleep since the match.
The 50-year-old was confused and frustrated by the crowd’s reaction to Novak Djokovic. While he was chiefly annoyed by Djokovic’s own body language in the third set, Ivanisevic pointed to the crowd’s poor welcoming of the World No. 1 to court as something that truly irked him.
“I mean, we knew that it was going to be like that,” Ivanesevic said as he addressed the partisan crowd in favour of Nadal. “Before the match, I said 80 percent out of respect, but in reality it was 99.9 percent of the pro-Rafa crowd.
“The only thing that I do not like and the thing that is really unfair is for the crowd to boo Djokovic when he entered the court. I mean, he is the No 1 player in the world and he has won 20 Grand Slam titles.
“There is no reason to do such a thing – whether you love him or not, you should respect him. Afterwards, cheer for Rafa, of course we knew that it was going to be like that. I do not know if Novak was bothered by that or not – he has learned how to deal with it and that cannot be an excuse, in my opinion.”
Ivanisevic, who vehemently refuted suggestions that the night match benefitted Djokovic, lamented the two set points wasted by the Serb in the fourth set. He believes both ended up being unforced errors, but admitted Nadal ‘deserved’ to win the match and advance to the French Open semi-finals.
Nadal will play in the Roland Garros final on Sunday against Casper Ruud after Alexander Zverev was forced to retire against the Spaniard. If the 36-year-old defeats the Norwegian, he will move to 22 Grand Slam titles – two clear of Djokovic and Roger Federer for the most men’s major singles titles in history.
Ivanisevic believes Djokovic can bounce back and make up some ground on Nadal at Wimbledon, although the Croatian admitted victory is a must. When asked if Djokovic can win the SW19 tournament, he added: “Of course he can, and he does not have much of a choice, if we are being honest.
“He is the biggest favourite at Wimbledon, just like Rafa was here. Novak now needs to rest well and prepare for Wimbledon physically and mentally. I am sure that he can do it and I think he will win Wimbledon, I have a good feeling about that. He needs to focus on grass now.”