Former champion warns against making Novak Djokovic angry

Novak Djokovic during a match

Former French Open winner Mats Wilander believes that crowds jeering Novak Djokovic will succeed only in firing him up.

Wilander says that Djokovic won’t be thrown off by jeers and boos and will only become inspired if a crowd is against him.

He says that Djokovic channels that hostility better than any other player in the world right now.

Wilander told Eurosport: “If the people that are here want to see a close match or they boo, it’s only because they want to see more tennis, they’re doing [Novak] a favour, because he gets more fired up when they’re against him and supporting the other guy.

“It’s understandable they want Davidovich Fokina to win a set because they want to see Novak play more.

“I think that if they really want Novak to not play well and make it close, they shouldn’t boo him because that helps him, because he gets angrier.

“He’ll find a reason to get upset or angry in a positive way whatever it is, and [the crowd] is just making it easier for him because it’s so easy to do it against the crowd.”

Djokovic was jeered during his match against Davidovich Fokina for calling for a trainer while his opponent left the court for a toilet break

Former British No 1 Tim Henman felt the crowd response was out of line.

He agreed that Djokovic wasn’t a player likely to be thrown off by the crowd.

“Fokina had left the court at this stage so Djokovic is perfectly entitled to have the trainer on,” Henman said.

“He revels in the adversity and the confrontation, when the crowd are on his case, booing and whistling. It motivates him. He enjoys that added atmosphere. It’s experience.

“You think, on the one hand, is he fighting with the crowd, is there all this tension? But on the other, you think that he’s used it to get fired up, but now he’s got to ensure that they’re on his side when he leaves.

“He’s touching his heart and blowing kisses, and they’re giving him a standing ovation. I think he played it perfectly.

“Davidovich Fokina deserves a lot of credit. He served for the first set and had a lot of those opportunities.

“Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to take them, but you saw what it meant for Djokovic to win the second set with a huge celebration. He was really fired up. It was a brutal and physical match.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic bemoans long list of injuries after reaching French Open fourth round again