On the first day at the Australian Open, there was lots of action and excitement, but unfortunately, a lot of that took place off the court.
Melbourne is a very multicultural city, with many Australians having European ancestry, including Croats and Serbs. There has been a long history of animosity between Serbs and Croats back home in Croatia, but not here. I don’t know all the details, but some youths from these groups had an altercation in the crowd resulting in them being ejected. These guys have mostly grown up in Australia, so they must have learnt this hatred from their parents.
It is embarrassing that these images were broadcast around the world – they are painting a bad image of Australia for the world audience, one that is essentially untrue. They have obviously not embraced the spirit of Australia.
The Australian Open has a history of the Swedes being very vocal and colourful, and they have added a unique flavour to this ‘friendly’ tournament. There has never been a serious complaint about their behaviour.
The authorities are going to increase security at the tennis from now on, but the tennis supporters don’t want to see a stop to people dressing up, chanting and showing support for their country or parent’s country.