Djokovic dances back into favour
Three years ago Novak Djokovic was the crowd's bogeyman here at the US Open after he failed to see the funny side of sarcastic comments by Andy Roddick, who had suggested that the Serb exaggerated his injuries. "They are already against me because they think I am faking everything," Djokovic said to jeers from the fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium during a post-match interview.
How differently the crowd react to the world No 1 now. Djokovic mended bridges with some on-court jousting with John McEnroe two years ago and on Saturday night he endeared himself further with a dance routine at the end of his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Nikolay Davydenko, which earned a fourth-round meeting with Alexandr Dolgopolov, of Ukraine.
Djokovic said he had been inspired by the dancing of a spectator in the stands which had been shown on the big screen during one of the changeovers. "That guy was great," Djokovic said. "There's so much noise that you kind of sneak a peek at the big screen. He had an 'I love New York' shirt."
The Serb added: "I try to always bring positive energy to the people because I know they pay for tickets to come and watch all of us. You need to give them something in return. Obviously, you're playing your best, but still it's nice to have some interaction with your fans. It's really important. So I'm trying to do that.
"The New York crowd, especially in the night matches, is very special. They really get involved. They have a lot of fun. They're very loud. There's a lot of music in the changeovers. It's different from other Grand Slams. I think every Grand Slam has something special about it. Wimbledon is very quiet, all white. Here it's all about entertainment."
The entertainment during the third-round match was not bad either. Djokovic was given more of a test than in his first two contests, though he rarely looked in danger of not taking his record for the year to 60 victories and just two losses.
"I had some ups and downs," Djokovic said. "Look, it's the first test I think I had this tournament. Davydenko is a great player. He's been around for many years. He knows how to play on this stadium. He knows how to play majors. He went out there and played his game, very aggressive. I think I was a little too defensive at the start. When I needed to adjust, I did. I made the crucial breaks in each set."
US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York, Saturday's results, Men's Singles Third Round: (1) N Djokovic (Serb) bt N Davydenko (Rus) 6-3 6-4 6-2; (8) M Fish (US) bt K Anderson (SA) 6-4 7-6 7-6; (11) J-W Tsonga (Fr) bt (19) F Verdasco (Sp) 6-3 7-5 6-4; (3) R Federer (Swit) bt (27) M Cilic (Croa) 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2; J C Ferrero (Sp) bt (31) M Granollers (Sp) 6-1 4-3 ret (20) J Tipsarevic (Serb) bt (9) T Berdych (Cz Rep) 6-4 5-0 ret; J Monaco (Arg) bt T Haas (Ger) 6-7 6-3 6-2 6-3; (22) A Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt I Karlovic (Croa) 6-7 6-2 6-4 6-4.
Women's Singles Third Round: (15) S Kuznetsova (Rus) bt A Amanmuradova (Uzb) 6-4 6-2; (10) A Petkovic (Ger) bt (18) R Vinci (It) 6-4 6-0; (1) C Wozniacki (Den) bt V King (US) 6-2 6-4; (28) S Williams (US) bt (4) V Azarenka (Bela) 6-1 7-6 (7-5); C Suarez-Navarro (Sp) bt S Espinosa (Sp) 6-0 6-4; (7) F Schiavone (It) bt C Scheepers (SA) 5-7 7-6 6-3; (16) A Ivanovic (Serb) bt S Stephens (US) 6-3 6-4; (17) A Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt (11) J Jankovic (Serb) 6-4 6-4
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Nani transfer: No future for winger at Sporting Lisbon as club cannot afford his wages when loan deal with Manchester United runs out
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Mario Balotelli is playing badly at Liverpool because he misses his daughter, says agent
Tottenham Hotspur vs Partizan Belgrade match report: Spurs go through in Europa League - but pitch invaders grab the attention
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics