'There were 20,000 people baying for Novak Djokovic's blood', says expert

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'There were 20,000 people baying for Novak Djokovic's blood', says expert

With the qualifying tournaments starting yesterday afternoon, the next edition of the US Open is ready to give a great show to all tennis fans. Unfortunately, there will be many absences that will affect the last Grand Slam of the year.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not be at Flushing Meadows for the second year in a row. The Swiss champion has not fully recovered from his knee injury and was unable to express himself to the best of his ability at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Precisely for this reason, Federer has decided to undergo a new surgery in the hope of returning to the court at the Australian Open 2022. The season is also over for Nadal, who on his debut in Washington complained of severe discomfort in his left foot; a nuisance that prevented him from competing in the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cininnati and that affected the final choice made by the Mallorcan.

The injury turned out to be more serious than expected and will keep Nadal in the pits for the remainder of 2021. Dominic Thiem, who is also suffering an injury, will not be able to defend the title he won last year. The Austrian experienced one of the most difficult years of his career and had to deal with a problem with his right wrist in Mallorca.

Novak Djokovic already holds most of the notable records in men's tennis. The Serb is the only man to win each Major and Masters 1000 event twice, and has spent the most weeks at World No. 1.

Annabel Croft comments on Djokovic

Former British tennis player Annabel Croft recently gave her thoughts on the lack of support Novak Djokovic gets from crowds during many of his matches.

According to Croft, it is "painful to watch" the Serb having to battle hostile crowds every time he steps out on the court. "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 against 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 is cruel in many ways," she added. According to Croft, McEnroe eventually got the respect he deserved despite being the "baddie of the sport." Croft feels that could be the case with Djokovic as well. "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," she said. "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."