Tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has slammed ‘drunk’ Australian Open fans for ‘screaming and meowing’ during her match on the new Party Court.
The Russian world No.46 lost in straight sets to Paula Badosa at Melbourne Park to crash out in the second round.
Pavlyuchenkova was left angered by intoxicated spectators on Court 6, where Tennis Australia has installed a two-storey bar which plays music during matches and fans can move freely around just metres away from the players in action.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in October that Court 6 will ‘quickly become known’ as the ‘Party Court’.
Pavlyuchenkova, though, was frustrated by the atmosphere and told iNews: ‘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.
‘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.’