Was Andy Murray booed? Confusion over crowd reaction at Australian Open

Veteran Scot beat Nikoloz Basilashvili to advance to second round

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 20 January 2022 08:43
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Fans appear to boo Sir Andy Murray at Australian Open

Sir Andy Murray got off to a winning start at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday when he beat Georgian 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in a tense five-set match at the John Cain Arena.

The Scot, 34, eventually saw off his opponent 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4, having coasted early on before finding things tougher as the momentum swung back towards Basilashvili.

But during his post-match interview, an exhausted Murray appeared to be booed by fans in the stadium, after apparent jeers erupted during a question about the current state of his game.

“That’s painful stuff there. Those guys…” he responded, breaking off from his answer.

While it might be tempting to conclude the booers were responding to Sir Andy’s criticism of the “mess” surrounding the deportation of rival Novak Djokovic after his visa was overturned when it emerged he had not been vaccinated against Covid-19, there could be several other explanations.

Murray had also just been speaking warmly about how nice it is to be back playing before a capacity crowd after months of empty stadia in response to lockdown measures, so it is possible the cries of disapproval were intended to be ironic.

The arena had certainly erupted in cheers and applause when Sir Andy won the game, celebrating wildly himself on the court after several years of injury frustration, suggesting the audience was very much on his side.

There also appears to be some doubt over whether the spectators were really booing at all, with several people on Twitter suggesting they were in fact imitating Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous “Siuuu!” goal celebration.

After scoring, the veteran Manchester United attacker customarily runs to the corner of the pitch, leaps into the air, spins and lands with his arms outstretched in a Christ-like gesture, as the ecstatic supporters in the stands behind him roar “Siuuu!” (meaning “Yesss!”) with one voice, the chant timed to coincide with the striker’s return to earth.

Whatever the truth, the noise reportedly continued to ring out around the arena when local boy Nick Kyrgios subsequently took to the court to play another Brit, Liam Broady, evidently much to his own annoyance.

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