The Roar
The Roar



Have tennis fans lost respect for athletes?

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Pro
1st February, 2022

Every professional athlete makes more sacrifices the higher they go.

Common ones include spending time away from your family and loved ones, missing events like weddings and birthdays.

The world’s best athletes would understand this better than anyone.

This summer brought big crowd numbers to sporting events, including seeing Rafael Nadal break the record for most Grand Slam titles, with 21, after defeating Daniil Medvedev.

Rafael Nadal celebrates.

(Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

The tournament, however, also revealed a dark side for some of the players’ experiences in front of the Australian fans.

Following the five hours and 24 minute, five-set marathon to conclude the Australian Open, Medvedev revealed he is uninspired to play tennis at the Grand Slam level after a challenging tournament with fans.

The world’s number two player was heckled for a large part of the tournament by fans, ever since he defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios in the second round.


Fans were criticised for making distractions while players served and for cheering when a player made unforced errors or served a fault.

Medvedev was targeted with this unwarranted fan behaviour, ultimately having an impact on him.

In an emotional post-match press conference after the final, Medvedev explained his current feelings towards playing tennis, making comparisons to the past where he doubted his playing future from having to deal with unjust fan behaviour.

Daniil Medvedev

(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Medvedev said he would prefer playing in front of more supportive crowds at home in Moscow over in the future.

“If there is a tournament on hard courts in Moscow, before Roland Garros or Wimbledon, I’m going to go there even if I miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros or whatever,” he said.

“The kid stopped dreaming. The kid is going to play for himself. That’s it. That’s my story.”


This is the sad reality of a player who has been exacerbated by a boisterous crowd to the point he is left in a hopeless situation.

Is this what we want to happen to visiting players as Australian fans?

People can mention the meltdown Medvedev had with the chair umpire in the semi-final, although would that have happened if the culture within tennis fans was different?

What if fans didn’t distract players as they threw the ball up to serve? If fans didn’t celebrate an opposition’s mistake more than your own player’s success? If fans didn’t talk after a first-serve fault?

If fans followed this tennis etiquette, would that meltdown have happened? Would Medvedev be happy and excited to come back and play another Australian Open?

Sports opinion delivered daily 



If crowd behaviour continues like this, will more sporting athletes refuse to come back? Certainly.

And we will be left without some of the best players every year.

This is a wake-up call to tennis fans to show more respect to opposing athletes.