Boo or ‘siuuu’? Boisterous crowds cause confusion at Australian Open

·4 min read
<span>Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP</span>
Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP
  • Andy Murray calls chant ‘incredibly irritating … painful stuff’

  • Liam Broady says crowd experience was ‘awful’ in Kyrgios defeat

A celebratory cry made famous by the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has caused confusion and a degree of annoyance among tennis players and on-lookers alike, with shouts of “siuuu” heard from the stands at this year’s Australian Open.

The cheer, which fans utter in an elongated deep tone, causing it to sound like a boo, was omnipresent during the opening two days of play at Melbourne Park, leaving some players uncertain about their popularity with the often boisterous Open crowds.

Andy Murray’s epic five-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili on Tuesday was soundtracked by cries of “siuuu” from early in the first set. What started as cheers from a small section of the crowd had spread across the stadium by the end of the nearly four-hour match. When Murray spoke in the on-court interview following his victory, he was interrupted by the noise. “Painful stuff … those guys,” the Scot said.

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Later Murray said he had been confused after hearing similar noise during his practice session: “Initially, I thought it was [jeering], because there were some people booing during my practice yesterday. I have no idea what for, so originally that’s what I thought it was,” he said.

Murray continued: “But then after a few times it was like, no, they’re doing that, I think it’s like ‘siuuu’ or something that Ronaldo does when he scores. And, yeah, it was incredibly irritating. I think that’s what they were doing.”

The cry has been made famous by Manchester United forward Ronaldo, who started using it along with his trademark goal celebration when at Real Madrid. It comes from the Spanish “si” for “yes”, although the five-times Ballon d’Or winner says he doesn’t know why he started to do it, but it just came to him naturally.

“I started to say ‘si’, it’s like ‘yes’, when I was in Real Madrid,” said Ronaldo. “When we would win, everyone would say ‘siiiii’ and so I started to say it. I don’t know why, it was natural.”

Raucous crowds are not uncommon at Melbourne Park, especially in the evening session and on the usually partisan John Cain Arena, which admits ground pass holders into its stands, where home favourite Nick Kyrgios opened his campaign on Tuesday night.

“Siuuu” was again heard during the Australian’s straight-set win over Liam Broady, with Broady saying he found the overall experience of a night match in front of a partisan crowd on John Cain Arena “absolutely awful”. The Briton believed that the crowd was booing him from the very beginning of the clash.

“The atmosphere was incredible, but it was, it’s the first time I’ve ever walked on to a tennis court and been booed, which was, which for me was a crazy experience. You get sledged from the sides like you can’t believe that they don’t pick up on TV. So it was a very, very difficult atmosphere to try and handle.”

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But as Kyrgios stepped up to the microphone for his on-court interview, he too was also greeted by a chorus of “siuuu”, prompting him to address the crowd directly.

“I don’t know what I’ve done to this crowd because you guys are a zoo now. You guys are out of control. I’m just happy to be in front of you guys again. Honestly, it’s so much fun,” he said. In response, more chants of “siuuu” were heard from different parts of the crowd.

In Kyrgios’s press conference, he was asked to comment on what appeared to be booing in the match. Kyrgios explained that the sounds were not what they seemed to be. “I wasn’t getting booed. That’s not getting booed,” Kyrgios said. “They actually weren’t saying ‘boo’.

He continued: “It’s just a stupid 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.”

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