Novak Djokovic's record-extending ninth Australian Open triumph on Sunday night has been overshadowed by a disgusting incident involving a section of fans inside Rod Laver Arena.
The World No.1 cemented his status as the king of Melbourne Park after crushing Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 in Sunday night's final to edge to within two majors of the men's all-time record of 20 shared by tennis titans Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
'WHAT IS GOING ON': Uproar over 'appalling' Aus Open drama
However, the Serbian's extraordinary performance soon took a backseat for many viewers on social media after a shocking incident during the trophy presentation.
Tennis Australia (TA) chair Jayne Hrdlicka addressed the crowd, thanking the hundreds of staff and governments that combined to make the event happen in the middle of a global pandemic.
“It's been a time of deep loss and extraordinary sacrifice for everyone. 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.
Her words were met with loud boos from sections of the crowd, with jeers also ringing out when she thanked the Victorian government for their support.
— Qasim Nauman (@QasimNauman) February 21, 2021
After the second round of boos, the TA chair waited for the crowd to finish before delivering one final message.
“You are a very opinionated group of people, but whether you're at home or here tonight, we are really thankful that you're here. We look forward to seeing you next year.”
The backlash to the booing was fierce on social media, with viewers particularly disgusted by the crowd's negative reaction to the mention of vaccines.
Many insisted that it was an embarrassing look for Melbourne and the rest of Australia.
Just listening to #AusOpen final speeches and the crowd booed at the official who mentioned she was happy that Australia is about to roll out #PfizerVaccine. What a disgrace to the world. #novakdjokovic #Medvedev
— Adem Kurt (@OzTaxPayer) February 21, 2021
— Scott Hutcheson (@Hutchy_87) February 21, 2021
@AustralianOpen how disgusting and ungrateful have the Australian crowd been this year. No idea or clue about their privilege
— Scottish John 🇿🇦 (@Ianntn) February 21, 2021
— subham Mishra (@iamsubee) February 21, 2021
These fans booing are disgraceful! Honestly!!! Grow up!
— Rennae Stubbs OLY (@rennaestubbs) February 21, 2021
— Debra Edmonds (@DebEdmonds60s) February 21, 2021
That was a really uncomfortable speech. Lot of boos at the mention of coronavirus vaccinations being rolled out. Bonkers.
— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) February 21, 2021
#AusOpen In case anyone is wondering, more than 70% of Aussies have said they'll get the vaccine, so rest assured that those booing in the crowd are an incredibly selfish, stupid, and very vocal minority
— Lachlan Drummond (@ljdrummond24) February 21, 2021
— rubbaan (@rubbaan) February 21, 2021
The Melbourne crowd booing when they mentioned the vaccine and all the health personnel making this event even happen.... so embarrassing and nasty to display on an international stage smh #AusOpen
— gerard (@gradicalz) February 21, 2021
This crowd is ridiculous. Last night's wasn't disrespectful like these clowns #ausopen
— Sasha Goundar (@SashaGoundar) February 21, 2021
Djokovic the king of Melbourne Park
The ugly aftermath didn't do justice to the achievement of Djokovic - who becomes just the second man ever to claim nine titles at the same slam, joining his great rival Nadal, who owns an eye-watering 13 French Open trophies.
The Serb's demolition job snapped a 20-match winning streak for Medvedev, who hadn't tasted defeat since November and beat Djokovic in three of the pair's previous four meetings.
But the Russian was no match for Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where the relentless Serb remains unconquered in nine finals and 42 outings as world No.1.
Djokovic will surpass Federer's record 310 weeks as world No.1 next month and it seems inevitable he'll also move past the superstar Swiss on the majors leaderboard as he, Federer and Nadal continue to jostle for all-time greatest status.
Incredibly, Federer had amassed 12 slams before Djokovic won his first at the 2008 Australian Open - and 16 before the Serb snared his second at Melbourne Park three years later.
Now Djokovic could conceivably eclipse Federer's tally this year.
Contesting his 28th grand slam final, Djokovic opened Sunday's match with an ace, held comfortably and then immediately broke Medvedev in the second game en route to charging to a 3-0 lead inside nine minutes.
The top seed looked in total control, only to make a brace of uncharacteristic errors to find himself double break-point down in the fifth game.
Two skyscraper defensive lobs from metres behind the baseline from Medvedev induced another error from Djokovic and suddenly the set was locked back up at 3-3.
But, as champion's often do, Djokovic raised his game to break Medvedev just as the set seemed headed to a tiebreaker, the Russian finding the net with a meek forehand on set point.
Medvedev gained an early break in the second, but then surrendered four straight games and obliterated his racquet in frustration as Djokovic motored to 5-2 lead, then a commanding two-set lead.
The third set was one-way traffic as Djokovic completed the comprehensive victory in just one hour and 53 minutes.
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