'What an embarrassment': Australia put to shame in Wimbledon moment

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
The Royal Box, pictured here standing and applauding Dame Sarah Gilbert.
The Royal Box stands and applauds University of Oxford Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert. (Photo by AELTC/Joe Toth-Pool/Getty Images)

There were beautiful scenes at the All England Club on Monday as Wimbledon kicked off with a tribute to “inspirational individuals” on Centre Court.

As is tradition on the opening day at Wimbledon, certain individuals who have done their country proud are invited to sit in the Royal Box and given a standing ovation.

'INSANE': Wimbledon explodes over Andy Murray moment

'CAN'T BELIEVE IT': Fans stunned by 'shocking' Wimbledon drama

One such individual who received a standing ovation on Monday was Dame Sarah Gilbert, the scientist who developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19.

A Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, Dame Gilbert led the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine with the Oxford Vaccine Group.

She also helped develop the universal flu vaccine in 2011.

The 50 per cent capacity crowd at Centre Court rose as one to celebrate Dame Gilbert's achievements on Monday with a wonderful standing ovation.

Dame Sarah Gilbert, pictured here in the Royal Box at Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon.
Dame Sarah Gilbert (front centre) in the Royal Box at Centre Court on day one of Wimbledon. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Vastly different reaction to Australian Open 'embarrassment'

The heartwarming scenes were widely celebrated on social media, but some couldn't help but point out the vastly different reaction from the crowd during a similar moment at the Australian Open in February.

Tennis Australia chair Jayne Hrdlicka was loudly booed by the crowd at Rod Laver Arena after the men's final when she mentioned the Covid-19 vaccine.

“With vaccinations on the way, rolling out in many countries around the world, it’s now time for optimism and hope for the future," she said in the trophy presentation.

However her words were met with loud boos from those in attendance in unsavoury scenes that many described as "disgusting" and "shameful".

Jayne Hrdlicka, pictured here being booed by the Australian Open crowd after mentioning the Covid-19 vaccine.
Jayne Hrdlicka was booed by the Australian Open crowd after mentioning the Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Hrdlicka was booed again when she said: “The top of that list to thank is the Victorian government, without you we could not have done this."

On Monday, journalist Jill Stark was among the many to point out the difference between the UK and Australia's reactions to mention of the vaccine.

"Remember that time at the Australian Open when the crowd booed the Chair of Tennis Australia for saying vaccinations offered “optimism and hope for the future.” We are cooked," she tweeted.

Fellow journalist Bevan Shields wrote: "Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, who helped design the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine, gets an emotional standing ovation at Wimbledon.

"Would the same thing happen in Australia at the moment?"

Wimbledon pays tribute to inspirational individuals

Other guests who were honoured on Monday at Wimbledon included some of Dame Gilbert's colleagues and other front-line medical staff.

Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over $58 million for the National Health Service in the UK. was also honoured.

They were joined by the Duke of Kent and former British racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart.

Announcers paid tribute to the “important work” done by key workers before the first match on Centre Court between Novak Djokovic and 19-year-old British player Jack Draper.

The World No.1 survived a huge early scare to beat Draper 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.