From the Grandstand


Well like most people in the grandstand I have been watching some classic matches from Melbourne and cheering on the Aussies. However, I must say I have been increasingly disappointed by the behaviour of some of our fans in the stands. They often spoil the atmosphere and our reputation. You pay over $100 for a seat at such events on the Laver arena and it can easily turn so sour.

I am all for the supporters getting behind the local player but there has to be a limit to the amount of negativity directed towards the opposition. Tennis is a gentile game and should not go down the path of the raucous football crowds. Lucky they are a minority otherwise we run the risk of becoming like the hooliganism of the English soccer fans of the 1970’s. Supporters need to show the players the respect they deserve even if you may not find them endearing or as personable as Federer for instance.

Of course, these comments are directed mainly at the Kyrgios fans who I believe are more fans of him personally and not tennis fans per se. They don’t go there for the sport of tennis but rather the event and the scene they can create. I can really appreciate Nic’s skill set, and I believe he has really matured over the last few years despite some outspoken errors and smashing racquets (less frequently). I do admire the way he plays the game and sincerely wish he could apply himself month in month out to reach his potential. Seems he only really fires up when it is a big event.

In his early match in Melbourne, he thanked his fans by saying they were zoo like. They do go wild with excitement, but their antics are also like baboons. Even their ‘sui’ call which some people confuse with booing is borrowed from Rinaldo’s soccer fans. Hardly original or appropriate. Cast your mind back to the Olympics when I wrote about the antics of Adrianne Titmus coach when his exuberance at her success was over the top but not offensive. That’s the difference.

The other obvious comparison concerns the Ash Barty fans. They are as keen as ever, but the ‘Barty Party’ is more positive and don’t go about cheering the mistakes of her opponents.

I am really pleased to see Alex Di Minaur do so well. He shows some class and is patriotic without going over the top when harnessing crowd support. He has taken a leaf out of Nadal’s book and applauds his opponent as he leaves the court following their match.

So, when all is said and done, we have a wonderful ambassador Sam Stoser finished her singles career with so much respect from everyone. Not far away Nic is almost in a fight with the opposition coach and his entourage. That says it all.