"Not always possible to tolerate" - Novak Djokovic supports David Goffin for standing up against French Open crowd's 'insulting' actions

Djokovic defends David Goffin for standing up for himself (Image source: left-Getty, right-Instagram)
Djokovic defends David Goffin for standing up for himself (Image source: left-Getty, right-Instagram)

Novak Djokovic weighed in on the crowd controversy after Iga Swiatek and David Goffin took their stance. While the Pole urged to crowd to remain quieter during important moments of the game, Goffin criticized the crowd for being disrespectful towards him.

After his second-round win against Robert Carballes Baena, the Serb was asked during the post-match press conference about his thoughts on the crowd controversy at Roland Garros, and the tournament director banning alcohol in the stands.

The Serb explained that the fans in Paris are very passionate and he mentioned his issues with them in the past. He said that it was not possible to have a neutral atmosphere even though each player wanted it.

“Look, they are very passionate fans. At times they are not easy, and I have been having some love affairs with the fans here, and also some tough matches, some tough seasons. I have experienced both sides. Obviously you always want to be the one that they support or at least have kind of a neutral atmosphere on the court, but it's not possible always for that to happen."

Djokovic touched on the French crowd issue, specifically the Goffin issue, and explained that playing a French player at the venue will always be a hard thing to do but it was completely normal for the crowd to cheer for their home favorites. He admitted that the crowd can be too much at times.

"And in particular, cases when you're playing against a French player like Goffin did or like I did first round, that's where you have to just be aware that you're going into a big battle. Not just with your opponent. But in a sense, that's normal, because they of course do everything to support their own home favorites, their own countrymen and countrywoman to win, particularly if they are underdogs, you know."

He supported Goffin's stance of stepping up for himself and said that after a point, every player needed to do so. The Serb, who has faced similar experiences in the past, said that though at times one must keep their cool against heckling, it was necessary to fight it once it became intolerable.

"I know that in the outside courts I saw a little bit of highlights of Goffin's match and that they can be even more loud and inappropriate at times. It’s a fine line when that line is passed, I guess, and when it starts becoming disrespectful towards the player. In those instances, I understand that a player like Goffin the other day reacted, because I have experienced quite a few times those particular situations."
"So I support a player standing up against people who are disrespecting and heckling him. It's not always possible to tolerate. Of course it's very much needed, because you don't want to be spending unnecessary energy elsewhere. But at times you just have to face somebody that is heckling you. That's all you can do."

"To see fans cheering and chanting songs, that's beautiful to experience" - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic explained that the crowd is a part of sports and though tennis is different from other sports, a good atmosphere is something that's really important to him.

"It's part of what we do. It's part of sports. We are different from football or basketball, but at the same time, you know, you kind of want a good atmosphere, right, as a player. Like, from my standpoint, I really want to see fans cheering and I want to see that atmosphere."

Novak Djokovic continued and went on to state that Wimbledon was a bit different from the other tournaments due to its prestige, but added that he loved watching the crowd enjoying the matches at the other tournaments.

"Wimbledon is different. Obviously Wimbledon has its history and culture and tradition. But most of the other tournaments you really want to see fans cheering and chanting songs and stuff for the player or country. I think that's beautiful to experience."

Djokovic will face Lorenzo Musetti in the third round of Roland Garros.

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