John McEnroe is disappointed with Novak Djokovic’s treatment

Djokovic did not need to play to reach the semi-finals of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships

by Simone Brugnoli
John McEnroe is disappointed with Novak Djokovic’s treatment
© Adam Pretty / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic did not need to play to reach the semi-finals of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships. The Serbian champion was expected to face Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals at the Centre Court, but the Australian retired a few hours before taking the field due to an injury.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Mike Hewitt / Staff Getty Images Sport

Nole’s physical condition has improved in the last few days, after the former world number 1 had suffered a lot in the first rounds. The 24-time Grand Slam champion has clearly beaten Holger Rune in the last 16, despite a fairly heated controversy with the Centre Court crowd that had disturbed him on several occasions.

"I understand that people cheered for Rune, but no one should ever cross a certain limit. If this happens, I react" - Djokovic had said at a press conference. The de Minaur forfeit allows Novak to rest several days before Friday’s semi-final. The world’s current number 2 is looking for his eighth title at Church Road, which would allow him to match the all-time record of his great rival Roger Federer (defeated in the final at Wimbledon in 2014, 2015 and 2019).

John McEnroe defends Djokovic

Novak Djokovic - who skipped the BBC interview after the rift with the crowd - was defended by John McEnroe: "He fought against this kind of attitude of people for much of his career. He’s often fed on that negative energy, but it makes sense that he doesn’t like being treated negatively. Sometimes it seems that the crowd cheers for his opponent just to spite Nole.

I believe that it would take more respect for a player who has been on the circuit for 20 years and who has made the history of this sport. Djokovic deserves to be admired for having reached the level of legends such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and also managing to overcome them. We must respect his greatness and thank him for all the good he has done for our sport. I admire his courage in denouncing this situation and I repeat that he does not deserve this treatment. He’s playing Wimbledon even though he had knee surgery a month ago."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

The Serbian appeared very nervous during the press conference scolding the media: "Do you have any questions other than the crowd? I mean are you focused only on that or any questions about the match, or something like that? Or is it solely focused on that? This is the third question already, I said what I have to say, maybe we can speak about something else."

De Minaur’s retirement before the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Championships shocked everyone, as the Australian seemed to have recovered physically after the incident in the last 16. Alex’s condition has worsened in the last few hours forcing him to a painful decision. "I’m devastated, but I have to announce my retirement from Wimbledon due to a hip injury. I did some tests in the last few hours and the doctors told me that the injury could get worse if I kept playing" - said de Minaur.

Djokovic and Alcaraz are the favorites

The two big favorites for the 2024 Wimbledon Championships victory are Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, who could face each other in the final like last year. The Serbian had a great start in the final of 2023, before suffering the great comeback of the Spaniard. Despite that blow, Nole was able to recover by winning the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati and the US Open in the summer.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Recently, even a legend like Mats Wilander praised Nole: "Everybody wants to play like Roger Federer. With Novak, he hits the ball like most other pros. It's just that he hits his backhand like other pros that have the best backhand in the game, and he hits his forehand like all the other pros that have the best forehands in the game, and he hits his serve in the same spots as Roger Federer, who had the best serve in the game.

What we didn't realise is that there were no weaknesses anywhere in his game on any surface. I think it took a while for everybody to understand that he doesn't have weaknesses. Federer has a weakness. Nadal has weaknesses. Djokovic doesn't really have a weakness."

Novak had the merit to overcome his eternal rivals and break almost all the records of the men’s tour. His biggest dream is to win the gold medal at the Paris Olympics, which will start in 3 weeks on the red clay of the French Open. Former world number 1 will be one of the big favorites along with Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Rafa Nadal.

John Mcenroe Novak Djokovic Wimbledon