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Tim Henman called on the Australian Open to kick hecklers out of the stands when some spectators were heard shouting out during Novak Djokovic’s final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The umpire was forced to remind the crowd to be quiet twice during the second set tiebreak but Henman thought the tournament should have gone a step further.
Djokovic has continuously dealt with hecklers during his matches at the Australian Open, with a group of fans dressed as Where’s Wally kicked out of his second-round tie against Enzo Couacaud. Spectators shouting out during his service games have become something of a constant in Melbourne this fortnight, and it happened again during a tense second set tiebreak in the final against Tsitsipas.
The umpire was forced to remind the crowd to be courteous after someone continued to chant during a rally at 4-3 in the breaker, but Henman thought more action needed to be taken. “Ladies and gentleman, please once again I know it’s very exciting but please be quiet during the rally, thank you,” Louise Azemar Engzell asked the Rod Laver Arena crowd.
But the retired former world No 4 wanted more, saying: “The request has been made by the umpire but I think they’ve got to go further, if people are repeatedly calling out trying to distract the players they’ve got to be thrown out.”
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And a couple of points later, another spectator called out while Djokovic was getting ready to serve, prompting the chair official to issue a more stern reminder. “It’s very disturbing for both players so please be quiet, thank you,” she added.
Henman’s co-commentator Chris Bradnam also thought it wasn’t enough as he responded: “It’s fallen on deaf ears too much in this tournament.” Djokovic was then able to take the second set in a tiebreak that saw seven of the first nine points go against serve, sitting down with a 6-3 7-6(4) lead.
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