[imagesource: William WEST / AFP]
Over the past few years, the Australian cricket team has done its country no favours.
Sandpapergate won’t be forgotten and neither will the fact that Tim Paine, the man elected to lead an overhaul of the team culture, was done for sexting a co-worker while his pregnant wife was grieving the loss of her father.
There’s not much the public could have done about that but they can control their behaviour while attending the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Instead, we’ve seen a number of awkward post-match interviews, booing and heckling, and just generally boorish behaviour.
A case in point is the treatment of Italian Matteo Berrettini, who defeated Gael Monfils in an epic five-setter to reach the semi-finals.
As Berrettini conducted his post-match on-court interview with ex-Aussie tennis star Sam Groth, he was interrupted by a heckler who yelled out from the stands.
It was not completely clear what was said, but part of the heckle sounded like “f*** you”.
The Italian stopped and looked over at where the noise came from, clearly unimpressed, as other fans booed the culprit.
“I didn’t hear,” Berrettini said. “It’s full of people and I like it — some of them are not really tennis fans I think.”
That echoes the sentiment expressed by Daniil Medvedev, who implored the crowd to “show some respect” and later called some in attendance “low IQ”.
Watch from the 1:25 mark to hear the heckle:
Berrettini handled it well, but it was far from the night’s only incident.
During the fifth set, the chair umpire was forced to chastise spectators who kept shouting as the players were about to serve:
“If you don’t want to watch. Please leave!” 😡
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 25, 2022
Local heroes Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis have used the partisan crowd to their advantage, making it through to Saturday’s men’s doubles final.
Tuesday’s quarter-final win against German Tim Puetz and Kiwi Michael Venus was very feisty and the crowd was once again at the forefront of the drama.
Over to Fox Sports:
With the crowd pumped up, there was no way for officials to contain the mayhem with fans yelling out in the middle of points and even repeatedly in the middle of Venus’ service action…
Nine commentator Tom Rehn said: “This place has reached a level even we have not seen or heard before. Not sure I have ever seen anything quite like this”…
Nine Newspapers reporter Sam Phillips also described the atmosphere as “farcical” in a post on Twitter.
There was also this:
— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) January 25, 2022
Following the defeat, Kiwi Venus was very honest in his assessment of Kyrgios:
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 27, 2022
If you thought we would manage to get through an entire Australian Open story without mentioning Novak Djokovic then I have bad news.
Don’t blame me, blame Daniil Medvedev. The Russian came from two sets down to beat Felix Auger-Alliassime in an epic, soured by his post-match comments during an interview in the Rod Laver Arena.
When asked how he managed to win, he offered this unpopular explanation:
Mixed reaction from the Australian Open crowd when Daniil Medvedev says he thought about Novak Djokovic in his comeback quarterfinals win:
“I told myself … ‘What Novak would do?’” pic.twitter.com/bsRKw1jbq5
— The Recount (@therecount) January 26, 2022
Throughout the tournament, many players, including Andy Murray, have spoken out against the crowd’s behaviour.
Nobody’s saying you can’t have a good time but it’s clear that boundaries have been crossed.
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