Viewers were confused by the crowd’s unusual support on Tuesday night before Nick Kyrgios addressed the issue in his press conference.
The entire crowd was right behind Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night but there was a very different sound emanating from John Cain Arena than what we’re used to at this time of year.
The Aussie’s favourite place to play in the world can be a nightmare for rivals forced to deal with incessant cheering and sledging from locals, as Liam Broady found out — but there was one part of the crowd’s behaviour that Kyrgios simply didn’t get.
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If you were watching at home on TV you would have thought people were booing the hometown hero as he clocked up a spectacular 6-4 6-4 6-3 win. But spectators weren’t turning against Kyrgios at all.
What some sections of the crowd were doing was chanting “siiuuu” — which is Spanish for “yes” and rings out when football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo performs his trademark celebration after scoring a goal.
Up 30-15 at 4-3 in the second set, the chant once again rang out as Kyrgios was preparing to serve. He baulked and broke out laughing, then interacted with the crowd and jokingly asked them to keep the refrain to “once every set”.
Kyrgios always the crowd on his favourite court eating out of the palm of his hand but even they weren’t going to listen to that instruction.
During the match one commentator on Channel 9 said: “I did a bit of work, I thought you guys would have known this but they are not booing. They are calling out what they call out when Ronaldo scores a goal. It is a crowd celebration, they brought it to the tennis. It’s what the kids do.”
Kyrgios lost it in his post-match press conference when asked about the noise, saying he couldn’t believe it went from start to finish as he booked a second round clash against world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.
The Canberra product rejected a reporter when it was suggested fans might have been booing then wiped his head with his hand as a familiar grin popped out and he explained what was happening.
Reporter: There seemed to be a fair bit of booing going on out there, and it was actually happening during Andy Murray’s match, as well.
Nick Kyrgios: No, I wasn’t getting booed. That’s not getting booed.
Reporter: No, I didn’t think they were actually booing you.
NK: No, they actually weren’t saying “boo” though.
Reporter: That’s what I was just going to ask.
NK: Yeah, it’s just a stupid, f***. I can’t believe they did it so much. They were doing some Ronaldo thing. Ronaldo does it every time he scores. It’s like — I thought they were going to do it for like 10 minutes. They did it for two-and-a-half hours, like every point. I don’t know why, but I don’t know. It was a zoo out there.
The crowd is like an extra weapon for Kyrgios at his home slam — not that he needed too much more help on Tuesday as his booming serve did most of the work, thundering down 21 aces.
Kyrgios said he liked using the crowd to “spark a moment or spark some energy” and added: “Obviously Liam is a great player but his experience on that court in that situation, when the crowd is going nuts, he has never experienced that before, hence the reason why on break points I’m trying to get the crowd up, get him to feel the pressure a little bit more.
“I think that’s the excitement of the people. You know, they haven’t seen much sport, haven’t been able to do much the last couple years. So the fact that they’re out, you know, able to see some of the best players in the world come out, they’re just excited to do things again.
“I could definitely feel they were just really ready to just, you know, get behind someone or something.”
Kyrgios faces a tough ask keeping his Australian Open campaign alive against Medvedev on Thursday. The Russian was a finalist at Melbourne Park last year and broke through at the US Open in September to beat Novak Djokovic and claim his maiden grand slam title.
“Well, there’s no doubt that he’s probably double the player he was, you know, before when I played him,” Kyrgios said of Medvedev.
“But, you know … those past experiences I had against him, and I have had success against him in the past, I know the kind of game style and the way I need to play.
“He knows how I’m going to play, I think, and I know how he’s going to play. It’s going to be very contrasting styles.”
Originally published as ‘F***’: Reporter’s ‘booing’ question makes Nick Kyrgios lose it