Love-40 to the Australian Open Crowds
This year’s Australian Open was full of controversies. Before the tournament began Novak Djokovic’s deportation from the Land Down Under had already made headlines across the globe. During the tournament, outbursts from players and protesters with political banners created even more drama. Despite all of this, what was most shocking about the 2022 Australian Open was how loud and disrespectful the crowds were.
Spectators shouting “siu”, a celebratory word used by football fans, confused and irritated players as it sounded similar to “boo”. Although tennis stars voiced their discontent, the crowds continued chanting “siu” match after match. Players were not only mishearing boos, they felt the wrath of real ones too. Daniil Medvedev was openly booed by the Australian crowds when he played Nick Kygrios in the second round and Rafael Nadal in the finals. With such raucous behaviour being displayed by fans, it is no surprise that Kygrios likened the atmosphere in the court to that of “a zoo”. Of course, you don’t have to clap or cheer for a player you don’t support, but it’s just rude to openly discourage them.
Crowds even went as far as to make disruptive noises during crucial moments to distract players. One fan got kicked out from the men’s doubles finals because of repeatedly speaking when a player was about to serve. Now, you may be wondering what’s the big deal about speaking in tennis when you can scream at the top of your lungs in other sports. Although not an official rule, ever since tennis was created, it has been expected that spectators stay as quiet as possible. Thanks to this tradition, players are used to silence and need it to stay focused. Being able to hear the ball bounce off the racquet also helps players make decisions about gameplay.
Throughout the Grand Slam, umpires didn’t do much to dampen the volume of the unruly crowds even though numerous players complained about it. In the future, spectators and officials at the Australian Open should take a player’s request for peace and tranquillity more seriously as it can make the difference between winning and losing a match.