Eurosport expert John McEnroe has given his views on fans booing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as he walked out for his huge quarter-final with Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic has been greeted by a mix of boos and cheers for other matches so far at Roland-Garros this year, with Eurosport's Alex Corretja responding with disgust earlier in the tournament.
This time it was McEnroe who was left very unimpressed by the reaction that Djokovic received as he followed his legendary foe out of the tunnel and onto Court Philippe-Chatrier.
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The hotly-anticipated quarter-final has been in everyone's diaries since the moment the draw took place with Djokovic, Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz all placed in the same quarter.
Finally, on Tuesday, the big moment arrived as both players walked on court, but the roars for Nadal were in contrast to the mixed reception afforded to the reigning champion in Paris.
It was not an atmosphere that McEnroe liked, or felt was fair and fitting for a player of Djokovic's calibre.
“No other player has had to deal with more adversity [than Novak]," McEnroe said.
"It is unfair, I’ve got to say that. This guy has turned lemons into lemonade more often than any player in the history of tennis, and if you don’t think it bothers him, you’re nuts!
"He is so mentally tough that he can deal with this and somehow channel that anger and frustration over what he feels is a lack of respect - and I feel it is too!”
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Djokovic's coach, Goran Ivanisevic, had warned the fans not to fire his charge up with a hostile atmosphere as he said the Serb would thrive under that kind of reception.
“I am glad that 80% of the crowd will cheer against Novak. He’s got a reason to get angry and to fight even more,” Ivanisevic told Serbian journalists.
With Nadal winning his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January, Djokovic has extra incentive to defeat his great rival as he bids to equal his haul of majors in Paris.
And Ivanisevic revealed he is pouring over old footage in a bid to find any small advantages. Djokovic leads the head-to-head 30-28, although the record is flipped 7-2 in favour of Nadal at Roland-Garros.
“I watched the match from last year, I watched the 2020 match 10 times, I am going to watch them again. There is always something,” he said.
“We need to give due respect to a man who has won Roland Garros 13 times. We are in his living room. Show respect, but not too much. ‘Well done, Rafa, but I will try to beat you’.
“If you’re not playing well, it doesn’t matter when the match is played - five in the morning, noon or 9pm.
“If Novak wants to win, he needs to be ready to play 27 sets and 57 hours.”
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