'Siuuu' chant takes over Australian Open, frustrating players
It’s Siuuu confusing! Australian Open stars are left baffled by ‘booing’ crowds… only to discover fans have adopted Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘incredibly irritating’ celebration based on Spanish word for ‘yes’
- Australian Open crowds have adopted ‘siuuu’ chant used by Cristiano Ronaldo and his fans at Real Madrid and have been using it on tennis players
- Boo-like celebration has created hostile atmosphere that has wound athletes up
- Nick Kyrgios likened crowd to ‘a zoo’, telling them: ‘You guys are out of control’
- Andy Murray was targeted in a practice session, calling it: ‘Incredibly irritating’
Australian Open crowds have a well-worn reputation as some of the most boisterous in tennis, but even by that standard their latest antics have left players and viewers baffled and irritated in equal measure.
The tournament, already mired in controversy after star Novak Djokovic was detained and deported, is now drawing attention because crowds have adopted a Cristiano Ronaldo chant which sounds a lot like booing to use on players.
Fans are in fact shouting ‘siuuuu’ – based on the Spanish ‘si’ which Ronaldo and his fans shouted whenever he scored at Real Madrid – which has created a hostile atmosphere at Melbourne Park that has already begun to wind up athletes.
Nick Kyrgios told the crowd they were ‘a zoo’ after his first match in which the chant was frequently used, adding: ‘I don’t know what I’ve done to this crowd. You guys are out of control’.
‘Siuuuu,’ they responded.
And former No.1 Andy Murray also expressed his displeasure, revealing fans even used it during one of his practice sessions. ‘It’s incredibly irritating,’ he said.
Nick Kyrgios is just one of a number of players to have been confronted with chants of ‘siuuuu’ at the Australian Open, comparing the crowd to ‘a zoo’
Australian crowds are already known for being among the most boisterous in tennis, but have managed to draw attention for their boo-like chanting at this year’s Open
Speaking to reporters after his first round victory against Briton Liam Broady, Kyrgios added: ‘I can’t believe they did it so much.
‘They were doing some Ronaldo thing, Ronaldo does it every time he scores. I though they were going to do it for, like, ten minutes.
‘They did it for two and a half hours.’
Opponent Broady described the atmosphere as ‘absolutely awful’ – revealing that, in addition to the Ronaldo chant, he also had to deal with ‘sledging’ from the sidelines.
Seemingly unaware of the Ronaldo connection, he said: ‘It’s the first time I’ve ever walked on to a tennis court and been booed, which for me was a crazy experience.
‘You get sledged from the sides like you can’t believe that doesn’t get picked up on TV. So it was a very, very difficult atmosphere to try and handle.’
The atmosphere may have shocked players, but it perhaps less surprising when viewed against the backdrop of a contentious election in Australia and crumbling Covid response, off the back of some of the harshest lockdowns on the planet.
Melbourne, where the tournament is being held, has been particularly hard-hit – suffering for 262 days under one of the world’s longest lockdowns last year.
That was followed by a vaccine roll-out that was criticised for being too slow, and which failed to stop Covid cases from soaring to record levels as Omicron arrived.
Australians are now coping with a shortage of Covid tests even as the virus spreads widely, which has seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison face increasingly difficult questions over his leadership.
The Open may have already fallen victim to the political situation, with the government taking a last-minute decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa after a public backlash to his exemption from strict border rules.
Having been told for months that Australia would not budge on its ‘no vaccine, no entry’ policy, people were incensed when the Serb was given a ‘medical exemption’ to play despite being unvaccinated because he had recently caught Covid.
Djokovic was detained at the airport on arrival, had his visa torn up, and was then put in migrant detention while the issue bounced between the courts and government.
The 34-year-old was eventually deported when Australia’s immigration minister personally intervened in the row to deny him entry, subsequently banning him from the country for three years.
While the government insists ‘rules are rules’, the episode led to furious allegations by Serbia that their sporting star had been singled out for political reasons.
The Covid situation has affected the Open in other ways, with Frenchman Ugo Humbert confirming he has caught the virus after testing positive while trying to leave the country following his first round defeat.
He is now in isolation, but it has led to calls for players to be given access to tests which are in short supply nationally to keep them safe.
Men’s third seed Alexander Zverev said players are not getting tested and believes that ‘quite a few players’ are infected, without providing evidence.
Ronaldo and his fans used the ‘siuuuu’ shout – based on the Spanish ‘si’ or ‘yes’ – whenever he scored a goal for Real Madrid (pictured)
Official attendees at Melbourne Park, such as tournament staff, are provided with rapid antigen tests each day and must be negative to remain on site.
But Tennis Australia (TA), which organises the Australian Open, says players only need to test if they have Covid symptoms.
Zverev’s remarks threw another spotlight on Covid policies at the Australian Open, which were already under scrutiny following the saga of deported defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Women’s third seed Garbine Muguruza called testing for players an ‘optional thing’.
‘Me, I test every two days by myself in my room. It’s not mandatory. I still do it,’ she said.
Asked if players had to show test results when they arrived at Melbourne Park, the Spaniard added: ‘No, don’t have to.’
Under its ‘safe player’ protocols, TA provides rapid antigen kits to players and testing clinics are open for extended hours on site, and at the player hotel.
All players at the Australian Open have to be vaccinated or have a medical exemption – a rule central to the deportation of the unvaccinated Djokovic.
Players also had to complete a mandatory PCR test when they landed in Australia and again between day five and seven, a timeframe that would now be over for most of them.
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