Daniil Medvedev and his fellow tennis stars will be concerned about the boos faced by Novak Djokovic after the Serb admitted the negative reaction spurs him on. Djokovic has been jeered by some inside venues at recent tournaments but that will likely motivate the World No 1 to raise his performance at the ATP Finals this week.
Despite a 19-game winning streak being ended by Jannik Sinner on Tuesday, Djokovic remains one of the favourites to win the tournament. The likes of Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz know that the 24-time Grand Slam champion is the man to beat.
Medvedev and Alcaraz might therefore fear the crowd turning against Djokovic. The 36-year-old hit out at fans who booed him during his victory over Tallon Griekspoor earlier this month by bluntly pointing out that his performance improved.
Djokovic won eight consecutive points during his win over Griekspoor after sarcastically urging the crowd to boo him more. He insists he did not purposely provoke the crowd to fire him up, but the tactic ultimately worked.
“When I asked the audience to boo at me a little more, I won eight points in a row,” Djokovic boasted after that match at the Paris Masters.
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“But I didn’t do anything to provoke the audience, that’s how it is. Is the Parisian crowd special? That’s a good word, they are special – very special.”
Djokovic’s rivals might fear that he could stir the crowd into booing him once again in his remaining ATP Finals matches as the Turin supporters have already turned on Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz. However, they will also be concerned that Djokovic is in supreme form.
The US Open champion has hailed 2023 as one of his best years, with his triumph at Flushing Meadows adding to lifting the French and Australian Opens. Djokovic also reached the Wimbledon final and will finish the year as the World No 1.
“One of the best years. I wouldn’t say the best, but one of the best,” Djokovic, who faces Hubert Hurkacz in his final group match, said this week. I mean, the fact that I’ve won three out of four Slams and played a final in the fourth and it’s still not the best year of my life, it’s quite nice to have that kind of situation.
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“It’s definitely one of the best seasons. I had a couple of years, I think three times, that I won three out of four Slams in a season…in those years, I won more matches. I mean, I played more tournaments. I was really feeling very dominant on the tour.
“It’s quite different circumstances this year comparing to all the other years because I played, what, 10, 11 tournaments this year. I just managed to peak at the right tournaments, at the right time. That’s what matters to me really. I mean, Grand Slam season, one of the best for sure.
“Overall, especially in the last couple months, I haven’t lost a match since Wimbledon, so I’ve been feeling great on the court and playing really well. But it’s hard to compare.”
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