Novak Djokovic criticized the “disrespectful” Wimbledon crowd on Centre Court, refusing to accept that spectators were cheering for his opponent, Holger Rune, after the Serb defeated the world No. 15. The seven-time Wimbledon champion, pursuing a record 25th Grand Slam title, secured a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory on Monday, advancing to his 60th major quarter-final and 15th at the All England Club.

Following his win, Djokovic directed a scathing remark towards a section of the crowd who chanted “Rune” throughout much of the match, which he interpreted as booing. “To all the fans that have had respect and stayed here tonight, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I appreciate it,” Djokovic said during his on-court tirade. “And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player — in this case me — have a goooooooood night,” he added, mocking the exaggerated “Ruuuuune” chants.

unreal from djokovic — Oscar Pearson (@oscarjpearson) July 8, 2024

A TV interviewer clarified that fans were cheering for Rune, not booing, but Djokovic was adamant. “They were (booing). They were. I am not accepting it. No, no, no. I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo,” he said. “Listen, I have been on the tour for more than 20 years. I know all the tricks, I know how it works. I focus on the respectful people that pay for the ticket, and love tennis and appreciate the players. I have played in much more hostile environments, trust me — you guys can’t touch me.”

The “Ruuuune” chants first emerged during the second set when Rune saved set points, aggravating Djokovic. Tennis legend John McEnroe, remarked, “They’re not booing, they’re saying Rune. Djokovic is confused by that. He thinks he’s being booed which he absolutely isn’t. The crowd are just trying to keep the young guy in it .” However, Nick Kyrgios noted, “One thing you don’t want to do though is poke the bear.”

Kyrgios seemed correct as the situation only fired up Djokovic, leading him to a straight-set win. Reflecting on the match, Rune mentioned that fans chanted his name similarly when he first faced Djokovic at the 2021 US Open. “It sounded a little bit like ‘boo’. We played each other many more times, but more in Italy and France, where they don’t pronounce my name the same way,” he said. “Now we’re in England. If you don’t know what was happening, it probably sounded like ‘boo’. If he didn’t remember, it could probably sound different for him.”

Djokovic will next face Australian ninth seed Alex de Minaur for a place in the semi-finals.