Is the tennis public footballing?

We suffered without the people. The pandemic left us without them. Only the songs, automated, of those virtual line judges that emitted a strange sound were heard. Beyond that… the absolute nothing. Tennis was played in empty halls, and something was missing. The soul, after all, of our sport. Paradoxical, after all, when each point must be disputed in the most absolute silence. But we were missing those applause and excited shouts at the end, that explosion of energy from the public when celebrating a player, some ooh of admiration before a great dropshot or a right-handed cannon. However, the public returned… but, did we come back better? Or have we ‘hooliganized’ after the pandemic?

We have just entered the 2022 season and the episodes experienced in the best tournaments of the year have not left the people who go to the stadiums in a very good place. Yes, it is true that a distinction should be made, something that surely everyone will point out to me: yes, not all those who go to tennis stadiums are fans of this sport like you, who are reading this, and as me. They are probably few and make a lot of noise. In any case, it is not a possible justification when the atmosphere becomes something general and causes negative reactions from the players, for whom, after all, we have paid our entrance. We are left without Davis Cup (as we have always known it, you understand me), the most “footballed” competition on the calendar, where the threshold of permissibility changed diametrically… And are the rest of the tournaments being played?

I don’t know if the answer is yes or no, but it’s a good moment, at least, for us to start the debate. To what extent should the public influence tennis? Is that more aggressive environment something that has a place in our sport? Where to draw the line between passion and emotion and disrespect towards one of the players? At Open de Australia 2022, the timing to ask us these questions was ideal. The Australian public, supposedly exemplary throughout the last decade, behaved in a despicable way at some moments of the tournament, and especially during the final, in which there were even xenophobic shouts before Daniil Medvedev (Go back to Russiasome told him. I’m afraid the one who should go home was not Daniil, friend). The Muscovite player himself declared that, faced with the boos and revelry between the first and second serves (a line that, for me, should never be crossed), he had begun to lose faith in enjoying this sport as did the adolescent who grew up watching to their idols.

The old Daniil died in that final, we’ll see who the new one will be. But just in case we hadn’t had enough with the specimens of low IQ that populated Melbourne Park, during this week we experienced whistles and jeers at a tennis player… from the same country in which the tournament is played. For the record: I love Argentina and the Argentines, also their way of living tennis, but I was incredibly surprised with the reaction to the dropshots of Federico Delbonis in view of Juan Martin del Potro. The electric and energetic atmosphere experienced to fire the man from Tandil, undoubtedly at the height of his status as a player, did not have to manifest itself in the form of whistles towards the player on the other side of the net, someone who simply does his job with the professionalism that should be asked of him, nothing more.


Fede criticized him harshly at the press conference, expressing more or less that idea, that it was not necessary to “step on” him to raise Juan Martín to heaven. He wasn’t the only one to do it: Holger Rune He also denounced the “footballing” of the public after his match against Sebastián Baez, in which people literally shouted “shut up” at him before starting a point. The Dane complained bitterly to the chair umpire, although he ended up losing his temper and gave the public that typical silence gesture that, of course, he ended up playing against him (it could not be foreseen). “I don’t like people telling me to shut up or deliberately making noises when I’m going to serve. It’s a disrespect towards me and towards this sport”.

You can more or less agree with his words, but when so many episodes are added consecutively in just a month of competition, it is a good time to launch the debate and for those of us who follow tennis to try to unravel an issue, obviously , quite complex. Is this new public attitude positive? Or is it not new at all and we are exaggerating it? What are the limits of the tier in a tennis match? We read you.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *