Debate has erupted after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was mercilessly booed after the Australian Open men's final on Sunday night, in unsavoury scenes that took some of the shine off a wonderful tournament. Jannik Sinner came back from a two-set hole to win his first grans slam title in remarkable scenes, beating Daniil Medvedev 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3.
With both players watching on after the match and preparing for the trophy ceremony, Aussie tennis legend Todd Woodbridge was reading out the list of dignitaries in attendance. But when he read out the PM's name it was met with a chorus of boos.
The booing continued when Woodbridge read out the name of Victoria’s Deputy Premier Ben Carroll, with the tennis great clearly perturbed by the reaction from the crowd. Woodbridge let out an audible noise to suggest his annoyance, before saying "thank you".
— 6 News Australia (@6NewsAU) January 28, 2024
The booing eventually died down and the presentation continued, with Sinner and Medvedev receiving praise for their humble and classy speeches. But the booing of Albanese left a sour taste in people's mouths and shocked some overseas viewers who were watching on TV.
While booing the PM has become somewhat of a tradition at sporting events, the reaction that Albanese received on Sunday night was one of the fiercest in recent memory. Many suggested fans in attendance weren't happy about the recent tax cuts that Albanese has introduced and saw the opportunity to voice their displeasure. Considering the price of tickets to attend the Australian Open final, those who could afford to go are probably the ones most affected by the tax move.
While some celebrated the booing and said fans have every right to voice their opinion, many thought it was a poor look for Australia on such a global stage. "Booing during the trophy presentation = classless, tacky and feral," one person wrote on social media. "No matter what you think of Albo - not the place to do this. This is being watched internationally and is a pathetic display."
Another wrote: "Looks like a bunch of rich, entitled people who pay $3500+ a ticket to a tennis match don't like it when their tax cuts aren't so big anymore." While another commented: "The only people able to afford tickets to tonight’s match are not going to be happy with the tax cats, but booing Albo is classless. It’s Sinner's night and you should all be bloody grateful."
Booing our Prime Minister at an international sporting event is such a shameful moment. #auspol
— Adele Chivers 🇺🇦🍄🌻 (@adele_chivers) January 28, 2024
Wonder what the rest of the world makes of Melbourne booing the country's prime minister
— Patrick Rivers (@PatrickJRivers) January 28, 2024
Absolutely fantastic match however booing our Prime Minister when his name was announced was disgusting!#AusOpen2024
— Nivvy (@Nivvy1) January 28, 2024
THey're booing the prime minister in Rod Laver Arena. Bit embarrassing.
— Cheryl Murray (@CMurray234) January 28, 2024
Booing during the trophy presentation = classless, tacky & feral. No matter what you think of Albo - not the place to do this. This is being watched internationally & is a pathetic display.#AusOpen
— Soph (@Sophs0123) January 28, 2024
Disgusting booing of PM Albo at tennis. Are all spectators in the top tax bracket?
— Fran Ross (@FranFlaneuse) January 28, 2024
The only people able to afford tickets to tonight’s match are not going to be happy with the #stage3taxcuts but booing #Albo is classless. It’s #Sinner’s night and you should all be bloody grateful. #AO2024
— Monique ☘️ (@mnqmlny) January 28, 2024
Jannik Sinner beats Daniil Medvedev in epic Australian Open final
Sinner's triumph in the final came just two days after he took down World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-final. "It is obviously a huge tournament for me," Sinner said after becoming the first Italian to win the Australian Open and the youngest champion since Djokovic in 2008.
"I want to thank everyone for making this so special. My team there, everyone who is in this box, also working from home who works with me, we are trying to get better every day. Even during the tournament we tried to get stronger, trying to understand every situation a little bit better so I'm so glad to have you there supporting me, understanding me, which sometimes is not easy because I am still a little bit young sometimes."
It marks the second time Medvedev has surrendered a two-set lead in an Australian Open final after a similarly crushing loss to Rafa Nadal two years ago. It is also the Russian's fifth loss in a grand slam final from six appearances. "He showed again why he deserves it," he said in a gracious runner-up speech.
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