Players unhappy but supporters split over rowdy Open crowds

Raucous crowd behaviour at the Australian Open has angered many players but left tennis fans divided, with some enjoying the rowdiness and others finding it “disrespectful”.

Although there has been confusion as to whether fans were booing players or chanting “siuu”, borrowing the celebratory cry from soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, several players have condemned the behaviour, finding the noise distracting.

Fans Tara Thomas and Lizzy O’Shannessy enjoy the atmosphere Nick Kyrgios brings to a match.Credit:Joe Armao

Daniil Medvedev, who won on Thursday night against Australian favourite Nick Kyrgios, slammed the crowd and told Eurosport: “Those who were doing it probably have a low IQ.”

The behaviour has fans divided and left many asking exactly what is considered acceptable etiquette for a tennis match crowd.

Friends Tara Thomas and Lizzy O’Shannessy enjoyed a sunny Friday at the Open and said they enjoyed the rowdiness Kyrgios brings to a match.

“I quite like it being a little bit more loud and [having] a bit of atmosphere,” Ms Thomas said.

“I do like the way that Nick Kyrgios plays. I kind of feel like it brings a bit of fun to the game.”

However, both women were in agreement that there are some rules tennis fans should keep in mind when attending a match.

“I think having phones off, [being] quiet in between serves, not calling out when someone is serving” Ms O’Shannessy said.

“I think that’s still required, that level of respect, given the concentration and the attention that they need to have in that moment.”

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Heath Fitzpatrick, who was enjoying a day at the Open with his mother, found some recent crowd behaviour to be “pretty shameful”.

“I thought it was pretty disrespectful,” he said.

But he doesn’t think there needs to be a specific set of rules for tennis fans. Instead, he believes “people should just have some decency, really … have some common sense.

“If a player comes out and says, ‘I got booed and that was quite disrespectful,’ people should respond in a way and say, ‘OK, come on, guys, let’s pull our heads in.’ ”

Heath Fitzpatrick found the recent crowd behaviour to be “pretty shameful”.Credit:Joe Armao

Lois Shaw and Mark Carey were in agreement.

“We watched the Kyrgios show on TV last night, and we both feel highly embarrassed with the behaviour of crowds, and the booing. I think it’s appalling actually,” Ms Shaw said.

“I think that they should have the officials actually warning people if they’re unruly and too vocal.”

Mr Carey kept his advice simple: “Don’t heckle. Be quiet when [players are] serving and stop the booing.

Tennis fans Lois Shaw and Mark Carey enjoyed a sunny Friday at the Australian Open.Credit:Joe Armao

“Applaud good tennis, not bad behaviour.”

However, recent attention on crowd behaviour may have caused fans to start reining it in.

On Friday, fans reserved the ever-confusing “boo”/“siuu” for when their favourites won a point, rather than to distract other players when serving.

The O’Shanassy family, who were enjoying a day at the tennis together, said although they saw the booing at previous matches on the TV, on Friday their “experience has been positive”.

Dane and Melissa O’Shanassy with their children James and Paige.Credit:Joe Armao

Parents Dane and Melissa’s son, James, had some wisdom for fans, suggesting a combination might be the best approach: “Maybe cheer and be quiet,” he advised.

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