Melbourne (AFP) – Brief stories from the Australian Open on Monday:
– Czech’s mate in tears –
Katerina Siniakova, 23, broke down in tears during her heavy 6-1, 6-0 defeat to fellow Czech Petra Kvitova.
The duo practise at the same Prague club and seventh seed Kvitova said it hurt her to see her team-mate so upset.
“I saw in the last game of our match that Katka was crying so it wasn’t really nice for me,” said Kvitova.
“I didn’t feel very happy about her, for sure. But it’s a tennis match and just had to kept rolling.”
– ‘U big mad?’ –
Naomi Osaka wasted no time striking back after a Twitter user named “Dianne Porrello” reacted to a tweet about the defending Melbourne champion by writing: “Boooooooooooo.”
“U big mad or little mad Dianne?” the 22-year-old Japanese shot back on Twitter.
Asked about the tetchy exchange after winning her opening match, Osaka said: “She was hating. What would her children think?
“You’re just going to come on the internet and boo me for no reason. I didn’t do anything to you.
“I also wonder, people like this, if they see you in person, I wonder what they would do?”
– ‘Peel your own’ –
Asking a ballkid to peel your banana is a big no-no at the Australian Open, as Elliot Benchetrit quickly found out.
The Frenchman, dubbed ‘Bananaman’ by Australian media, handed a piece of fruit to a young ballgirl during a qualifying match at Melbourne Park after apparently struggling to get the skin off with his bandaged hands.
But umpire John Blom wasn’t impressed and told him to do it himself, a decision applauded by tennis great Martina Navratilova on Twitter.
“What’s next- grapes? #entitlement,” she said. “John did the right thing, that’s for sure.”
– Bushfire relief –
Fancy owning the shoes that Naomi Osaka wore when she won the US Open final in 2018, or a painting by world number Rafael Nadal and his Spanish ATP Cup teammates?
They are among memorabilia up for grabs in an online auction as the tennis community looks at new ways to raise money to help bushfire-ravaged Australia.
The items also include various signed tennis outfits and racquets from stars such as Serena Williams with bidding at www.ebay.com.au/str/bidforgood/tennis
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the global tennis community, and the way players, officials, fans and other tennis organisations have united to raise money for those affected by the devastating bushfires,” said Australian Open chief Craig Tiley.