Dual British-Serbian national Vesna Collins and indie-rock band lead singer Dan Smith of Bastille had something in common at Wimbledon on Sunday — both were in the distinct minority wanting Novak Djokovic to beat Roger Federer.
But they got their wish when Djokovic won the men’s singles title for the third time, 7-6(1) 6-7(10) 6-4 6-3.
A BBC poll released before the match found that since Federer had ousted Scotland’s Andy Murray from the championship, an overwhelming majority of about 75 percent of fans were backing Federer to beat defending champion Djokovic.
Collins, who left her native Belgrade 25 years ago and lives in London, knew she was a lonely voice in the crowd.
But she wanted Djokovic to win in part because he is a compatriot, but also because “he is moving better, he’s fit and he’s getting to a lot more balls — that’s to be admired”.
Smith, 28, said he too felt a bit lonely on Wimbledon’s famous Hill, rooting for Djokovic while surrounded by a sea of Federer supporters watching the match on a giant screen.
“I’m pretty much the only person on the entire Hill, but I think he’s great and I’m not a big fan of Federer’s emblazoned jacket and branding,” Smith said, referring to the “RF” logo carried on the Federer merchandise.
Djokovic was asked if it bothered him that his wins at Wimbledon do not seem to translate into support from the spectators, especially when he plays Federer.
“Well, look, it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I expected that coming into the match,” Djokovic told reporters.
“More or less anywhere I play against Roger, it’s the same. So it’s just like that. I have to accept it. I have to work and earn (the) majority of the support maybe one day,” he said.
Federer, who has won Wimbledon seven times, appreciated the support from the crowd.
“It’s great. It’s such a huge part of the game, the crowds, wherever you go,” he told a news conference.
“So to have so much crowd support around the world, but also particularly here at Wimbledon, which is the Holy Grail, it’s beautiful.”
While the support for Federer was lop-sided, lots of the people who cheered for him appeared to be relaxed about the outcome.
“It’s easier than with Murray playing, you don’t have the pressure that he’s got to win, he’s got to win, you can just enjoy,” said Kate Robinson of Wiltshire, attending with her sister-in-law Jennifer Lewis of Sheffield.
“We can just enjoy the beauty of the tennis,” Lewis said.