Aussie tennis player Jordan Thompson has taken aim at the tournament's new rule and blasted it as 'woke' after fans were walking to their seat ahead of his service game. Thompson was leading fellow Aussie Aleksandar Vukic in the second set and was on serve when fans entering the stadium delayed his momentum.
Thompson, fresh off defeating Rafa Nadal last week, was left waiting for the fans to take their seat. However, the chair umpire moved to inform Thompson that the new rules at this year's Australian Open allows fans to enter the stadium between games.
'NOT GOOD ENOUGH': Uproar as Chris O'Connell shafted for Novak Djokovic
Previously, the tournament only allowed fans to enter at the change of ends. This new rule caught Thompson off guard and he let rip at the change.
"You're kidding me, really?" Thompson said in surprise. He then took aim at the grand slam for the new rule in a bizarre call. "This is the wokest tournament ever."
After the game, the umpire moved to clarify the rules. Thompson still wasn't impressed: "It's just not smart." However, it hasn't just been Thompson who has been taken by surprise after Novak Djokovic was divided over the new rule after his opening round win.
The World No.1 admitted he understood why it was introduced to allow fans to watch more tennis. However, he was divided on whether it was good for the players who would be distracted when trying to start their serve.
Alexei Popyrin sets up Novak Djokovic clash
Thompson eventually got the better of Vukic in five sets to advance to the second round. Alexei Popyrin earlier defeated fellow Aussie Marc Polmans to set-up a clash with World No.1 Djokovic.
Popyrin will need to lift his game and use the support of the home crowd after setting-up a second round encounter with Djokovic. A late scratching from last week's Adelaide International after being troubled by a back complaint in Brisbane, Popyrin moved freely in living up to his Australian No.2 status with an impressive straight-sets win.
Popyrin was strong on serve having blasted 20 aces and won all 14 of his service games during the victory. In warm conditions, Popyrin broke Polmans four times in progressing in two hours and 28 minutes on John Cain Arena.
With two forays to the last 32 and wins over former US Open champion Dominic Thiem, 2008 AO finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and fellow top-10 stars Taylor Fritz and David Goffin, Melbourne Park has been the happiest of grand slam hunting grounds for Popyrin.
The 24-year-old said he was excited to face the World No.1 and would need the crowd behind him on Wednesday night if he was going to upset the reigning champion. "I've known him since I was a kid and watched him play since I was a kid," Popyrin said in his on-court interview.
"I last played him when I was 19. I've improved since then. Looking forward to going out there and we'll see what I can bring. I'll need the crowd on my side for the whole match up. Hopefully you guys can come out and support me like you did today though."
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