Wimbledon, it seems, has had enough of ‘The Fanatics’. They were noticeably told to “be quiet” and “sit down” by Wimbledon officials during Sam Groth and Roger Federer’s Centre Court showdown. Is this the beginning of the end, or a one-off?
For well over a decade now The Fanatics have been a physical, visual and vocal presence at all tennis Grand Slams – among a plethora of other sports – and their singing and cheering has brought many light-hearted moments in sometimes dull proceedings.
However, there are also those who view them in a negative way. Words like boorish, oafish, annoying and disruptive spring to mind. Bogan if you will.
Tennis has its traditions, particularly at its hallowed home, the All-England Club. To try and use the argument of “I’ve paid my money, I’ll do what I want” is juvenile and ignores the importance of the sport’s ethos. Thousands of other patrons have paid their money too and deserve to watch the match as they want to, without being interrupted every single point.
Can you imagine sitting behind The Fanatics as they rise from their chairs each point? Every. Single. Point. It would be excruciating!
In the interests of full disclosure, I wanted to be a Fanatic at one time. It never eventuated for a variety of reasons, most notably because I couldn’t afford the time or cost involved.
This group of men and women absolutely have a place. In tennis, that place is the Davis Cup or Fed Cup. This is the one time that there is a genuine level of nationalistic fervour. Knock yourselves out cheering for Australia.
The Fanatics won’t be going anywhere quickly, nor do I want them to. I love their passion for sport, and the support they’ve provided over the years has helped the success of many Australian sportspeople.
However, it is time they revised their behaviour.