The Australian Open crowd was deemed a « shame » and asked to « grow up » after the trophy presentation derailed on Sunday night.
In a bizarre ending to the incredibly difficult five weeks for tennis in this country, a large section of the Rod Laver Arena folks booed when a COVID vaccine and the Victorian government were mentioned.
Jayne Hrdlicka, the manager of Tennis Australia, even had to stop to suppress the crowd at one point during her speech.
Hrdlicka’s first statement, which was received with great interest by the crowd, was: « It has been a time of deep loss and extraordinary sacrifice for all.
« With vaccinations on the way being introduced in many countries around the world, now is a time of optimism and hope for the future, » she said.
The boos continued when Hrdlicka mentioned the work the Victorian government had done in hosting this year’s event.
At the end of her speech, Hrdlicka’s patience waned. « You are a very empathetic group of people, but whether you are home or here tonight, we are really grateful that you are here. We look forward to seeing you next year. »
She wasn’t the only one shouting the antics, and media around the world were shocked by what she heard.
« And so ends the Australian Open 2021, with the crowd eroding vaccines while Djokovic takes the trophy. It’s been five weeks in Australia, tennis, » said Ben Rothenberg, a reporter for the New York Times.
« The Australian Open came to a remarkable conclusion, but between players who brought tournament director Craig Tiley ‘significant abuse’ and spectators undermining mention of vaccines at the trophy ceremony, it really produced some idiots, » said the tennis author Stuart Fraser.
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