Written by By Staff Writer
By Kevin Farrell
Novak Djokovic came within a few hours of suffering an upset loss at the French Open last week, just one year after winning the tournament for the first time.
The world No. 1 defeated fellow Serbian Jelena Ostapenko 6-1, 6-3 to reach the last 16.
But as he left the court, the 12-time Grand Slam champion appeared to be feeling a sense of relief, and he revealed later that he thought fans were yelling “boo.”
“Was it boos? No. I think a lot of people were applauding. I mean, it’s not every match you have more people clapping than applauding,” the 31-year-old said at Roland Garros on Friday
“…Then I got back to the locker room and thought a lot of people were applauding, like the crowd. They cheered more than they booed.”
But Djokovic, whose 12 major titles are shared by only Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, said he does not take the boos personally.
It all happened at the French Open, the former No. 1 was also stunned by a 73rd-ranked Japanese wild card Go Soeda in the fourth round in Rome earlier this month.
Soeda, 30, took advantage of a staggering 20 unforced errors from the world No. 2 before Nadal won, but the Spaniard bounced back from that defeat with an easy win in the third round.
‘It is only a few bad days’
Djokovic said he would take more of a positive approach on his next outing — should he face any more defeats on clay.
“I need to stay positive. It is only a few bad days in this life that have happened this year,” said Djokovic, who has yet to drop a set in Paris.
“I took the advice that Vika was giving to me before she retired in the first set, and that was to focus, be positive and remind myself of the positive things that I do do. And all of a sudden it happened. I won the match and won the tournament in Rome.
“So, let’s see. I’m looking forward to the next match. I’m just looking forward to the next game.”