Booing from fans has been branded "disgraceful" after a post-final speech was hijacked after Novak Djokovic's triumph in the final of the 2021 Australian Open.
Djokovic further cemented his status as one of the greats of the game with a quite brilliant demolition of fourth seed Daniil Medvedev to secure his ninth title at the Australian Open and 18th Grand Slam title.
But there were some unsavoury scenes during the post-match speech given by the Tennis Australia chair, Jayne Hrdlicka, as fans appeared to boo references to various government and community groups and individuals, while also addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The initial moment which spurred a negative backlash from some fans inside Rod Laver Arena appeared to be 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," she began, to a chorus of boos.
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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 booing spectators repeatedly interrupted Hrdlicka before she eventually lost her patience and said: "When you’re finished."
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After those initial comments sparked a cacophony of boos, the negative reactions continued after Hrdlicka thanked the Victorian Government for their support.
"There are many other people to thank that enabled this great night to take place in the last couple of weeks," she said.
The top of that list is the Victorian Government, without you we could not have done this.
Hrdlicka concluded by saying: "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."
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Former Australian tennis star Rennae Stubbs tweeted: "These fans booing are disgraceful! Honestly!!! Grow up!"
Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith added: "People booing vaccines at the #ausopen need to take a long hard look at their privilege. Disgraceful behaviour."
The booing was widely condemned on social media.
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