Mon, 22 Feb, 2021

Melbourne crowd's "disgraceful" act after Djokovic wins 18th Australian Open

Melbourne crowd's "disgraceful" act after Djokovic wins 18th Australian Open

A chorus of boos was heard around Rod Laver Arena before Novak Djokovic and Banil Medvedev addressed the crowd following the Australian Open final.

Djokovic secured an incredible ninth titled title at Melbourne Park - his 18th grand slam crown - by defeating Medvedev in straight sets as he put on a stunning display in the Victorian capital.

Jayne Hrdlicka, the chair of Tennis Australia appeared on stage during the post-match ceremony on Sunday night and would not have been expecting the backlash that erupted over some of her comments.

After congratulating the two players, Hdlicka thanked several people while also addressing the pandemic.

Needless to say, a few of her remarks were not well received by the Melbourne crowd.

The first moment which spurred a negative reaction was Hrdlicka’s mention of the recent COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“It’s been a time of heartfelt challenge. It’s been a time of deep loss and extraordinary sacrifice for everyone,” Hrdlicka said.

“With vaccinations on the way, rolling out in many countries around the world, it’s now a time for optimism and hope for the future.”

The comment sparked outrage amongst fans, who could be heard booing from the stands.

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith tweeted: “People booing vaccines at the #ausopen need to take a long hard look at their privilege. Disgraceful behaviour.”

The crowd once again booed after Hrdlicka thanked the Victorian Government for their support.

Premier Daniel Andrews has plenty of supporters in his home state, but there are also many who are unhappy with the strict lockdowns he’s imposed as Victoria fought to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“There are many other people to thank that enabled this great night to take place in the last couple of weeks,” Hrdlicka said.

“The top of that list is a Victorian Government, without you we could not have done this.”

Spectators repeatedly interrupted Hrdlicka, with the TA chair eventually losing her patience and coldly saying: “When you’re finished …”

Hrdlicka added: “You are a very opinionated group of people, but whether you’re at home or here tonight, we are really thankful that you’re here. We look forward to seeing you next year.”

There was plenty of criticism reserved for the crowd's response.

Former Australian tennis star Rennae Stubbs tweeted: “These fans booing are disgraceful! Honestly!!! Grow up!”

Journalist Isabelle Lane posted: “Embarrassing scenes at this #AusOpen presentation. Tennis Australia boss Jayne Hrdlicka booed by parts of crowd when mentioning the coronavirus vaccine rollout and thanking the Victorian government for the event. Hrdlicka notably failed to thank the people of Melbourne/Vic.”

Cricket reporter Danyal Rasool tweeted: “Booing the Victorian government, one of the few in the world that actually took the measures that made it possible for them to sit in the crowd to boo in the first place, is a next-level self-awareness fail.”