Former British No. 1 Annabel Croft couldn't believe what she was witnessing while watching the 2015 US Open clash between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Djokovic, ranked at No. 1 in the world, was going against Federer in the US Open final but the Swiss wasn't his only opponent as it felt every fan in the stands was against the Serb.
“It has been painful to watch at times and I remember being at the US Open in 2015 when Novak was playing Federer and the entire crowd seemed to be again him,” Croft told Tennis365. “There was silence when he hit a winner and cheers when he missed and the courage he showed to win that match was remarkable.
“I was court-side and couldn’t believe that there were 20,000 people baying for his blood and hoping he would lose. It was cruel in many ways. “This was like watching a gladiator out there getting torn to shreds by the crowd.
It sends shivers down my spine recalling what it felt like and he didn’t flinch. He was so well prepared emotionally to deal with that, it was so impressive."
Croft hopes Djokovic will receive the love he deserves
It's not a secret that Djokovic is not as nearly loved as Federer and Rafael Nadal.
However, Djokovic's success in the game of tennis has been historic and Croft underlines it can't be overlooked. If Djokovic wins this year's US Open, he will capture a Calendar Grand Slam. “I really hope he eventually gets the adulation and love that he is deserving of given his achievements in the game," Croft added.
“Having grown up in the [John] McEnroe era and he was so unpopular in the 1980s. He was vilified as the real baddie of the sport. He dominated the headlines for being brattish and someone said to me at the time that in due course, he will get the love and I think that can also happen with Djokovic”.