Federer and Serena at centre of 'disrespectful' fan furore

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.

Federer and Serena. Image: Getty

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.”

However not everyone agreed, with some claiming Federer and Serena had earned the right for their fans to boo opponents.

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.”