Australian Open star condemns 'drunk' fans for 'screaming' and 'meowing' at her

Australian Open star condemns 'drunk' fans for 'screaming' and 'meowing' at her

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as tennis star complains about 'drunk' fans

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 17/01/2024

- 13:56

A new concept in Melbourne hasn't gone down well with every player

Russian tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was left feeling 'uncomfortable' after being screamed and 'meowed' at during her Australian Open exit to Paula Badosa.

The 32-year-old lost 6-2, 6-3 to her Spanish opponent but it's what happened off court that left her annoyed.

Australian Open chiefs have introduced what has been described as a 'party court' at this year's tournament.

Tournament director Craig Tiley billed the new-look court six as a new way for fans to be entertained by the sport.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was not happy with the atmosphere on court six


However, it didn't go down well with Pavlyuchenkova during her second-round match.

A two-storey bar with a capacity of more than 400 people has been built besides court six.

Fans can walk around during matches, buying drinks and ordering food while the action is being played adjacent to them.

Pavlyuchenkova believes it had a negative impact on her performance against Badosa.

She claimed fans appeared to be 'drunk' and were heckling her during the match.

Pavlyuchenkova told i News: "It was super loud, like in the restaurant basically, people talking and eating and drinking.

"I don’t know if they even watched the match.

"There were a couple of guys, I think they got drunk and they started to scream and meow [at me], I think maybe because I have this tattoo on my leg [which reads meow] or just because of course they had some drinks and so it was really disturbing.

"It was not nice to be honest. I was really annoyed at the start of the match.

"I have no problem playing on the outside courts, but this one was special in terms of the noise and also the court."

Pavlyuchenkova found herself questioning the concept of the bar while her game was being played out.

She added: "I was actually thinking during the match, ‘What was the idea behind it?’ – yeah okay, maybe of course, for the fans, it’s super fun for them.

"But tennis is a special sport in a way. It’s not like baseball, or other sports where you can eat and walk around, or like basketball.

"It is completely different. It’s very quiet in a way. So yeah, that was really uncomfortable."


Paula Badosa and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Paula Badosa beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets on court six


Tiley explained last October what he hoped the bar would bring to the tournament.

He told told Fox Sports in Australia: "We're gonna give this a go on outside court six and basically, what it is, we just wrapped the court with a two-storey structure where fans can actually lean over, watch the tennis, sit down.

"[They can] enjoy a bit to eat, enjoy a drink and the feedback we get is that the fans want to get closer to it, so we bring them closer to it at the same time.

"As entertainment, I think it'd be a hit.

Paula Badosa

Paula Badosa came out the better of the two players on court six


"I think it'd be very popular and will be something where everyone wants to go.

"You get to see a great view of the tennis. We do want to create an environment where the fans can get as close to the actual play as they possibly can.

"And we know we have the best environment anyway."

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