Tennis Australia’s president was booed during the presentation ceremony at the Australian Open after mentioning the COVID-19 vaccine and the Victorian government.
- A chorus of boos rang out at Melbourne Park during the presentation ceremony following the men’s single’s final
- After Tennis Australia president Jayne Hrdlicka mentioned “hope” with vaccines, the boos echoed through the arena
- More boos were raining down when Hrdlicka thanked the Victorian government
Restlessness in the crowd began during the speech Jayne Hrdlicka, who spoke after Novak Djokovic won his ninth Australian Open and 18th grand slam.
“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,” she said.
This was met with a chorus of boos, which threw off Hrdlicka, who had to pause her speech.
The crowd ultimately settled but were then angrily boisterous at the mention of the Victorian government.
Hrdlicka thanked the government saying, “without you we could not have done this”.
This led to another chorus of boos which halted Hrdlicka’s speech.
She was able to finish the speech by thanking fans despite calling those in attendance a, “very opinionated group of people”.
Coronavirus restrictions have been a common talking point with the Australian Open, with more than 70 players forced into hard quarantine after positive tests were recorded on charter flights bringing players and officials into the country.
Crowds were also kept away from Melbourne Park during a five-day lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a quarantine hotel.
Djokovic has also been a polarising figure during the coronavirus pandemic.
While many countries were experiencing lockdowns and a surge in infections, Djokovic hosted an exhibition tour which was played in Serbia and Croatia.
The tour drew criticism, especially from fellow tour player Nick Kyrgios.
Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 following the tour.
He also came under fire for writing a letter, referred to in some quarters as a ‘list of demands’, asking for the easing for some of the quarantine restrictions placed on players in Australia.