Novak Djokovic quietens hostile French Open crowd during Diego Schwartzman win

Argentinian Schwartzman was clearly being backed by a large South American and Spanish contingent on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

By Press Association Published: 29 May 2022 - 6.58pm

Novak Djokovic was booed as he walked on to court and cupped his ear at a strangely-hostile crowd during his three-set win over Diego Schwartzman at the French Open.

Argentinian Schwartzman was clearly being backed by a large South American and Spanish contingent on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

But the jeering of the world number one and defending champion seemed excessive and even prompted Eurosport’s Alex Corretja to say: “I don’t like that.

“It’s Novak Djokovic. He has given us so much.”

But Djokovic gave the perfect response with a 6-1 6-3 6-3 demolition of the 15th seed to book his place in the quarter-finals.

The Serbian has yet to drop a set in the tournament as he bids for a record-equalling 21st grand slam title.

“I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a good person off the court,” said Djokovic who is still to drop a set so far this week.

“I’ve made a good start – but I have a lot of work to do.”

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Rafael Nadal came through in five sets (Thibault Camus/AP)

That work will begin with the hotly-anticipated quarter-final showdown with his great rival Rafael Nadal, who came through a marathon five-setter against Felix Augur-Aliassime.

The Spaniard, looking for title number 14 on the red dirt of Paris, attended the Champions League final on Saturday evening.

It looked for a while that Nadal may have celebrated Real Madrid’s victory over Liverpool a little too much, as he was broken twice on his way to losing the first set.

Nadal’s uncle Toni, who will have had mixed feelings as he coaches the Canadian ninth seed, was watching on from a position of neutrality in the presidential box as his nephew hauled himself into a 2-1 lead.

But when Auger-Aliassime took Nadal into a fifth set for only the third time at Roland Garros, it was all too much for Nadal senior to bear and he left.

He missed a cracker of a decider, Nadal pouncing in the eighth game and then serving out despite some heroic defending from his young opponent.

“He’s a great player without a doubt, one of the best in the world,” said Nadal after his 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 win.

“He’s very young with a lot of power and great mobility. I had a very tough opponent today.”

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Felix Auger-Aliassime took Nadal all the way (Christophe Ena/AP)

Another sub-plot will be whether Roland Garros chiefs put the blockbuster last-eight encounter on as the showpiece night match, given that it would therefore not be on free-to-air television in France.

The players will also have their say, and Nadal has already stated he does not like playing at night, while Djokovic smiled: “All I will say is Rafa and I would make different requests.” The first battle will need to be won before a ball is even struck.

Third seed Alexander Zverev won his fourth-round match against Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 7-5 6-3.

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