It is a well-known fact that Novak Djokovic isn’t the most popular tennis star on tour. In fact, in the GOAT debate with his fellow Big 3 players, the Serb often faces unfair comparisons on the basis of popularity with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Thus, it was imperative that he focused on his tennis at the Paris Masters and not succumb to the pessimism of the crowd’s behavior towards him as he strolled along to another win in the year and celebrated in another unique and imitative fashion.
Novak Djokovic explains how he dealt with boos after Paris Masters
Novak Djokovic took center stage in Paris knowing that he didn’t have to deal with the stress of holding on to his world No. 1 ranking as Carlos Alcaraz had exited the Paris Masters. In his quarterfinal encounter with Holger Rune, the 24-time grand slam champion was on song with his stroke play and ensured that a minor hiccup in the second set didn’t perturb him on his path to victory.
Following an epic showdown with Rune, where Djokovic emerged victorious with a score of 7-5, 6(3)-7, 6-4 in just under three hours of intense play, the Parisian crowd’s reaction was rather surprising. As Djokovic celebrated his hard-fought win on the center court, he had to contend with boos from certain sections of the audience.
The 36-year-old tennis veteran didn’t let the unexpected negative reception rattle him. Instead, he maintained his composure and chose not to react to the jeers as he relished the well-deserved victory. When questioned about the crowd’s less-than-enthusiastic response, Djokovic responded with a touch of sarcasm, showcasing his unwavering poise in the face of adversity.
“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,” he said.
After his much derided attempt at imitating Ben Shelton’s celebration at the US Open, an unmoved Novak Djokovic continued his knack of emulating iconic celebrations from different athletes around the world. His latest celebration was an ode to a young British footballer’s unique style of commemorating his goals.
Watch: Novak Djokovic imitates iconic Jude Bellingham celebration
Following his impressive victory over Rune, Novak Djokovic exuberantly stepped onto the center court, raising his arms triumphantly, reminiscent of Jude Bellingham’s goal celebration. As the boos reverberated throughout the AccorHotels Arena, the Serb remained undeterred, relishing the crisp winter air and basking in the joyous cheers of his dedicated fans, savoring every moment.
The source of the boos, whether directed at his imitation of Bellingham’s celebration or a more general negative sentiment towards Djokovic, remains uncertain. Nonetheless, Djokovic’s unique way of savoring his win served as a fitting conclusion to a monumental triumph over Holger Rune.
Much was expected of Rune and a repeat of last year’s finals was primed by many fans, but a record-breaking Novak Djokovic has proven over and over again this year that he has what it takes to battle the younger stars with quality tennis.
And he proved it yet again in a tournament where he is defending over 1000 points, and a semifinal clash with No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev awaits the Serb on Saturday.
What are your opinions on Novak Djokovic’s imitation of Bellingham’s celebration, and does the iconic legend deserve such a negative reception from fans? Let us know in the comments section below.