5 instances when players got annoyed by the crowd ft. Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tennis crowds are usually well behaved compared to other sports. However, the sense of decorum that prevails more often than not is shattered occasionally. A few, or at times, majority of the crowd, target either of the players.
Some players are able to brush it off and ignore the taunts, while others get into an altercation with the fans. Crowd support, or a lack of it, has a great effect on a player, and has the potential to change the course of a match.
There have been a few instances of tennis pros losing their cool at the crowd after being subjected to constant verbal abuse. With that, here are five instances when players got visibly upset at the crowd due to their antics:
#5 Andrey Rublev gets heckled at the 2023 Australian Open
The Russia-Ukraine conflict left its mark on the world of tennis in many ways. Wimbledon banned athletes from the country, along with players from Belarus, from competing in the 2022 edition.
While similar bans were not enacted elsewhere, players from the other two countries were subject to scruitny. During this year's Australian Open, a few spectators, who were waving the Ukrainian flag, proceeded to say unpleasant things to Andrey Rublev.
The 26-year-old had a word with the chair umpire regarding it. He clarified that he doesn't have an issue with the flag, but people insulting him bothered a lot.
"I said straightaway to the referee, it’s not about the flag, they can put any flag they want, I understand completely the situation. It was more that they started to tell me bad words and bad things. I said to the referee: ‘It’s not about the flag, but please can you tell them at least to not say bad words when I’m on the changeover,’" Rublev said
Rublev has been one of the more vocal Russian players to speak out against the war and has used his platform to advocate for peace.
#4 Alexander Zverev gets a fan booted for his vile behavior
Zverev's fourth round contest against Jannik Sinner took an ugly turn when a spectator crossed all limits. The fan said something offensive during the third set, following which the German immediately complained to the chair umpire.
Security was called to detect the offender and was promptly escorted out. Zverev later revealed that the fan had starting to sing a song associated with Hitler, which caused him to report the matter immediately.
"He started singing the anthem of Hitler that was back in the day. It was 'Deutschland über alles' and it was a bit too much," Zverev about the fan's offensive speech.
"I think me being German and not really proud of that history, it's not really a great thing to do, and I think him sitting in one of the front rows, I think a lot of people heard it. So if I just don't react, I think it's bad from my side."
#3 Stefanos Tsitsipas left perplexed after a fan's unique strategy to annoy him
Tsitsipas' philosophical musings and off-beat attitude has distinguished him from his peers. So it's no surprise that the incident involving him is also slightly weird. The Greek faced home favorite Ben Shelton in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters earlier this year.
While the Americans would naturally root for one of their own, one fan took it too far. The person in question started to make some buzzing sounds like a bee, which initially caused Tsitsipas to think there was a bee around him. He later realized that someone in the crowd was doing it to bother him.
"There's a person imitating a bee behind me. It's a buzz right before I serve. It has never happened in my career. I know they're supporting the [other player]. It's the lady over there, I want her out. She needs to go... when I'm about to serve, all I hear is [bzzz]," Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas later found the offender and told the umpire that he wanted her out. But the fan apologized for her behavior, and everything was all right in the end.
#2 Daniil Medvedev's volatile history with crowds at most tournaments
The crowd has often managed to get under Medvedev's skin and there are plenty of instances of him getting into a tiff with them. From telling the crowd to shut up to blowing a kiss sarcastically towards an particularly annoying spectator, his US Open campaign this year was rather tough.
Medvedev's semifinal match in New York against Carlos Alcaraz had a rather vocal Spanish contingent cheering the latter. The Russian was irked by it, but after defeating his younger rival, he had a message for the crowd.
"And the only thing probably is thousand Spanish guys at 5-3 started screaming between first and second serve. That's not so nice, but I guess they were desperate. So I'm happy didn't help them. They can go to sleep now," Medvedev to the crowd after his win over Alcaraz.
There are plenty of other occasions when Medvedev was bothered by the crowd. His early exit from last month's Paris Masters was also controversial as the back and forth with the crowd got a little too intense at times.
#1 Novak Djokovic left fuming after unruly fans harass him at the Davis Cup
Djokovic's Davis Cup Finals campaign got off to a brilliant start last month. He dispatched Great Britain's Cameron Norrie with ease in the quarterfinals, but was subject to constant jeers by the British fans.
They didn't even let Djokovic finish is post-match interview in peace as they started to play drums while he was speaking. It proved to be the last straw for the Serb, who finally snapped at them.
"Learn how to respect players, learn how to respect people, you shut up, you be quiet," Djokovic to the noisy fans.
Djokovic is used to hostile crowd and generally uses their taunts as motivation. However, he's not shy to express his feelings and speak up against their behavior, especially if he feels disrespected.