Novak Djokovic scuffled with the referee and the Center Court crowd as he advanced to his fifth straight Wimbledon final.
The seven-time champion defeated Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 to set up the matchup the tennis world has been dreaming of against 20-year-old Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
Towards the end of a tense second set, referee Richard Haigh stripped Djokovic of a point for “hindering” after a loud and prolonged grunt.
Then, when he was about to lose the set, the Serb was angered by the screaming spectators between his serves. As he returned to take the set, he taunted the crowd by clapping sarcastically, cupping his ear at them, and wiping away fake tears.
When asked about his feelings towards the crowd, he replied: ‘All love. Everything is love and acceptance.
Novak Djokovic pretends to cry as he taunts the Wimbledon crowd for cheering on his opponent
The Serb spent the match battling it out with the fans in SW19 while booking his place in the final.
He was more forthcoming about the referee’s impediment call.
“It could have changed the game,” he said. I felt very nervous after that, but managed to regroup. It was the first time in my career that had happened, I don’t normally have a prolonged growl, maybe it was an echo from the ceiling! I didn’t feel like I was causing any obstacles.
“I had to try really hard to keep things together, even though I was really upset because I didn’t think it was the right decision.”
In the same game, Haigh also committed a time violation against Djokovic for taking too long to serve.
“In a game where he already gave me a roadblock, where it’s a close game, rallies, I feel like the referee should recognize the moment a bit more,” said the 36-year-old.
On the delicious finale with Alcaraz, he added: ‘It’s going to be a great challenge, the biggest challenge I could have at the moment from any angle: physical, mental and emotional.
‘He can do almost anything on the court. He is very motivated. He is young, he is hungry. I’m hungry too, so let’s have a feast.
Carlos Alcaraz, who won in straight sets, said he is ready for the challenge of a Djokovic final.
Alcaraz, who beat Daniil Medvedev in straight sets, said: ‘It’s going to be a really tough challenge for me, but I’m ready.
‘It’s a final, it’s not the time to be afraid, it’s not the time to be tired. I will go for it. I think I can beat it.
‘It’s a dream for me to play a final at Wimbledon. I am going to enjoy this incredible moment.’
Djokovic played the pantomime villain for most of the contest against Sinner, as the Wimbledon crowd cheered the Italian.
For most of the match, the fans favored Djokovic’s young opponent, and the Serb responded in typical fashion by taking the first two sets, then ending with the crowd holding their ears as he dominated the proceedings.
However, as Sinner fought his way back into the match during the third set, the crowd’s support intensified, much to the chagrin of the seven-time Wimbledon champion.
So much so, that after Sinner squandered a 40-15 lead at 5-4 in the third set, Djokovic turned the game around to bring the set to a tiebreaker and then responded to the crowd’s disappointment with a nod. crying to the fans. in SW19.
Center Court was just behind young Italian Jannik Sinner in the Wimbledon semifinal.
The moment was made in good spirits, yet the man seeking to match Roger Federer with an eighth Wimbledon win this year has never received the same adulation from the Wimbledon crowd as the Swiss star, nor Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic has often wowed the crowd at the annual UK Slam, and it was the same mixed response on social media from those who saw his gestures towards the crowd.
On social media, one fan said: ‘How disgusting Djokovic is being. The crowd can support another person. Go, sinner!
While another made his opinion of one of the greatest players in the history of the game clear by stating, “Is there a bigger jerk in the sport than Djokovic?”
However, as always, there were some who felt the exact opposite and reveled in the way Djokovic was carrying himself.
There were mixed reactions on social media to Djokovic’s behavior on Center Court
The crowd reconciled with the Serb as he beat Sinner in straight sets to reach the final.
“I love how Djokovic makes fun of the idiots in the audience.” Said one fan, followed by a bunch of laughing emojis.
However, their relationship was best summed up in a tweet by journalist James Gray, who commented on Djokovic’s actions on Center Court as ‘Novak Djokovic vs. the Wimbledon crowd part 4317’.
By winning the game, the crowd and the 36-year-old seemed to have made peace with each other as he received a standing ovation as he secured a place in another Grand Slam final.
Djokovic will take to Center Court on Sunday when he looks to make more history at Wimbledon against either Carlos Alcaraz or Daniel Medvedev.