Home Sport Clare Balding savages Novak Djokovic with cheeky Wimbledon dig live on BBC

Clare Balding savages Novak Djokovic with cheeky Wimbledon dig live on BBC


Clare Balding took a cheeky shot at Novak Djokovic on the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage ahead of his semi-final against Lorenzo Musetti. The Italian beat Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 to reach his first ever Grand Slam semi.

As Musetti spoke in his on-court interview, Djokovic’s name was booed after it was put to the 22-year-old that he would be playing the seven-time SW19 champion this Friday. He has only won one of their six previous meetings.

The jeers came after the Serbian world No.2 launched into a rant at the Centre Court crowd, calling them “disrespectful” after he defeated Holger Rune on Monday night. Djokovic thought he was being booed as the crowd chanted “Ruuuuuuune!”

Djokovic said: “To all the fans that have had respect and stayed here tonight, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I appreciate it. And to all those people that have chosen to disrespect the player (in this case me) have a goooooooood night.

“They were. They were. I am not accepting it. No no no. I know they were cheering for Rune but that’s an excuse to also boo. Listen, I have been on the tour for more than 20 years. I know all the tricks.”

And BBC Wimbledon host Balding, who replaced Sue Barker as the channel’s main presenter last year, took her chance to aim a joke at Djokovic’s expense live on the Beeb following Musetti’s quarter-final victory.

Discussing Musetti’s win, Tim Henman said: “To run away with the fifth set, I want to say it will give him a lot of confidence going into the semi-finals but he faces the seven-time champion!”

Balding then chimed in with: “He is up against a man who has been running up hills today – we’ve seen Novak Djokovic running up a very steep hill.

“I’ll show you that in a second because I’d love to hear what you think. My one fear for this is Novak Djokovic faces a man called Muuuuusetti!”

The comment drew laughter from both Henman and Nick Kyrgios who were courtside analysing the match on No.1 Court. The Australian will practice with Djokovic tomorrow to get the Serb ready for Musetti.

Kyrgios said: “I think today having that day off for Novak and tomorrow really helps his chances. Anytime you get a day off playing best of five, you’re going to take it.”

And Balding continued: “I’m really looking forward to that as a match. I’ve fallen in love with Musetti, I just have, I think he’s a beautiful player!”

Henman then stated: “Djokovic is a massive favourite. I think the crowd’s reaction is going to be fascinating. I think Musetti could have quite a lot of them on his side. Does that make Djokovic play better?”

Balding and Kyrgios both unanimously replied: “Yes, it does!” To which Henman continued: “It probably does. It’s an interesting scenario for Musetti but what an opportunity. Grand Slam semi-finalist!”

Reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz faces Daniil Medvedev in the other semi-final to Djokovic vs Musetti.

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