JOHN MCENROE came to the defence of Novak Djokovic on Tuesday after the Serb received a hostile reception from the French Open crowd.
Djokovic, 35, was greeted by boos and jeers when he entered Court Philippe-Chatrier prior to his highly anticipated quarter-final match against Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic was greeted by boos as he entered the court
McEnroe urged fans to stop booing Djokovic
It’s the second time he has been booed in this year’s French Open – he received the same treatment during his fourth round clash with Diego Schwartzman.
But on this occasion McEnroe was quick to come to his defence.
After speculating whether or not the jeers were actually chants when appearing on Eurosport, he said: “Unfortunately this was booing.”
The seven-time Grand Slam winner added: “I think it blows basically is what I think.
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“I mean it’s crazy, come on. This guy is a credit to our sport, he comes out on the court, this is one of the greatest matches.
“They may never see – they will probably never see this match again on this court. Come on.”
McEnroe, 63, then went on to condemn the fans for their actions, adding: “No other player has had to deal with more adversity [than Djokovic].
“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!
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“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.”
Nadal went on to defeat last year’s French Open champion in a four-set thriller to progress to the semi-finals.
The match started at 8:45pm local time and lasted 4hrs 12mins.
Both players argued that the tie should have been played earlier in the day, with Djokovic stating: “I think they are starting too late.
“But TV decides, that’s the world we live in.”
Nadal echoed his claims and said: “I don’t like night sessions on clay. I am very clear with that.
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“I don’t like to play on clay during the night, because humidity is higher, the ball is slower, and can be very heavy conditions especially when it’s cold.
“I think that makes a big difference who plays tennis on clay during the night and during the day.”