Roger Federer and Serena Williams have inadvertently sparked a heated debate about ‘disrespectful’ fans.
After Federer crashed out of the ATP Finals at the hands of Alexander Zverev on Sunday, many commentators weren’t happy with the way fans of Federer had treated the young German.
Zverev sparked controversy during the final game of his 7-5 7-6 (7-5) victory when he stopped play mid-point because a ball boy had dropped a ball.
While Zverev was well within his rights to ask for the point to be replayed, fans in attendance at the O2 Arena in London didn’t see it that way.
Boos and jeers rained down on Zverev during an exchange with the umpire and Federer, as well as after the match when he was being interviewed.
It led to Sky Sports pundit Annabel Croft intervening and admonishing the crowd.
“I’m not sure why you’re all booing because he’s telling the truth,” she said while interviewing Zverev.
“The ball boy did move across the court and it disrupted play and those are the rules.
“So I think you have to be a little bit more respectful.”
For many other fans and pundits, the sorry scenes were all too familiar after Naomi Osaka was booed after beating Serena Williams in the US Open final.
Osaka was brought to tears as American fans were furious with the way Serena had been treated by chair umpire Carlos Ramos, ruining the young Japanese player’s historic triumph.
After Zverev was booed for beating Federer on Sunday, tennis journalist Chris Goldsmith hit out on social media.
“These 2 players are the future of tennis,” he tweeted alongside a pic of Osaka and Zverev.
“In these photos Naomi Osaka and Alexander Zverev have just defeated legends Serena Williams & Roger Federer in huge matches yet look at their faces.
“Crowds play a big part in matches but they always need to be respectful to the players.”
These 2 players are the future of tennis. In these photos Naomi Osaka and Alexander Zverev have just defeated legends Serena Williams & Roger Federer in huge matches yet look at their faces. Crowds play a big part in matches but they always need to be respectful to the players. pic.twitter.com/eEaRwvtA1u
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) November 17, 2018
However not everyone agreed, with some claiming Federer and Serena had earned the right for their fans to boo opponents.
Nah u have to earn the fans affection. Serena & Federer were very much disliked earlier on in there careers and had to win slam after slam to earn that affection. So until these 2 start being consistent and racking in the slams I ain't losing any sleep over them
— Faith Natunga (@FNatunga) November 18, 2018
Affection does take time. Respect however should immediately be given to both these players on their victories over legends.
— Jamjsco (@Jamjsco) November 18, 2018
Check ur tennis archives this rarely happens. Pple r so passionate abt their players and pay alot to see them win so if they lose the crowd reacts. If ur looking for respect then sports isn't the place fans always boo this is worse in soccer where u hab songs for opponents
— Faith Natunga (@FNatunga) November 18, 2018
It should never happen at all, but it is not new.
— Alison Berkowitz (@aliberk65) November 18, 2018
Absolutely. But I’d like to add that it is the fans themselves that are responsible for this behaviour. Collectively, Federer and Williams fans are notoriously the most disrespectful, the world over (as any other tennis fan would concur).
— Cornish Bird (@BirdCornish) November 18, 2018
Thank you for putting into words what I wanted to say! Love these GOATs but… these are the FUTURE of tennis! #morerespect
— joe ri (@rainwontgoaway) November 17, 2018
Seriously heartbreaking to see crowds booing like that.
— Optimist☀️ (@VolleyMePlease) November 18, 2018
I thought exactly the same when I saw Zverev being booed by the Federer's cult members. Same story with Osaka and Serena.
— biedrowski (@PawelBiedrowski) November 19, 2018
Fed's fans are very arrogant. I saw them boo @DjokerNole when he beat Fed recently, that was so classless. Yet Novak is a multi-slam winner.
— jotham kubwa (@kubwasmalls) November 19, 2018
Zverev later told reporters how the jeering had shaken him up.
“I was a little bit sad at the end with the booing and reaction of the crowd,” he said.
“I was very emotional afterwards. The booing went into cheering kind of afterwards, which kind of helped me.
“I was really upset afterwards in the locker room, I’m not going to lie. I had to take a few minutes for myself.
“But, you know, I hope the crowd and the people who were booing maybe look at what actually happened, maybe just realise that I’ve maybe not done anything wrong.”