Australian tennis fans don’t appear eager to forgive and forget Serena Williams’ controversial meltdown in the US Open final.
As news broke on Wednesday that Serena will take part in the annual Hopman Cup in Perth, fans should have been salivating over the prospect of a mixed doubles showdown between herself and Roger Federer.
Williams, 37, will represent the United States alongside Frances Tiafoe at the team event, which begins on December 29.
The 23-time grand slam champion is set to face Federer on New Year’s Day in 2019, when USA meet Switzerland.
“I always enjoy playing in Western Australia and in front of the crowd there at Perth Arena,” Williams said on Wednesday.
“The Aussie fans are always so warm and supportive and the Hopman Cup has always given me a great start to the season, especially ahead of the Australian Open.”
However fans weren’t so supportive of the news that Serena was heading Down Under earlier than anticipated.
Dozens of users reacted to the announcement with comments referencing her US Open scandal.
However there was plenty of love at the thought of seeing 48 grand slam titles in action on the one court.
Federer announced he would return for a third straight Hopman Cup earlier this year, while it will be Williams’ fifth.
Williams hit the headlines at the recent US Open when she was involved in a bitter spat with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her final loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Williams, who called the umpire a thief, was fined $23,500 over the incident.
‘Not the happiest memory’
On Tuesday, Osaka admitted that winning the US Open was “bittersweet” and “not the happiest memory”, revealing that she’s been trying to forget about the victory.
“For me, I don’t know, I don’t know, the memory of the US Open is a little bit bittersweet,” Osaka said.
“Right after, the day after, I really didn’t want to think about it because it wasn’t necessarily the happiest memory for me.
“I just sort of wanted to move on at that point.”
Federer’s kind words for crestfallen Osaka
However these comments from Federer might go a long way to changing her mood.
The Swiss legend on Wednesday described Osaka as a champion, praising her ‘winning mentality’.
“I think winning Indian Wells helped her to believe that she could also win another big title,” said Federer, speaking at a Uniqlo event signing with the Japanese clothing company.
“I think she is a champion in the sense that she doesn’t shy away from the big stage.
“Indian Wells is the second biggest tennis court we have in the world and the US Open is the biggest one.
“She succeeded in both of them and that shows a winner’s mentality.”