'Doesn't belong in tennis': Australian Open star rips 'disrespectful' fans

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Stefanos Tsitsipas has suggested his own fans need to tone things down after winning through to the second round of the Australian Open.

The Greek sixth seed enjoyed the smoothest of starts to the Australian Open, barely getting out of second gear on Monday night to register a 6-0 6-2 6-3 win over Salvatore Caruso.

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Backed by a vocal Greek crowd, Tsitsipas showed exactly why he’s tipped to trouble the big guns of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

However he took aim at his fans after the match, warning them not to turn tennis-watching into football fandom.

Stefanos Tsitsipas in action at the Australian Open. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

In his on-court interview with Jim Courier, Tsitsipas thanked the crowd but said they sometimes ‘cross the line’.

He then issued a warning in his post-match press-conference.

“I would describe it as a football field self-expression,” Tsitsipas told reporters.

“(That) attitude doesn't really belong in tennis. It should stay in football, not in the tennis court.

“I really like they come and support me because that gives me a lot of positives in my game. I don't really know why they want to go the extra mile some of the times.”

Tsitsipas said he actually finds some of the fans’ chants distracting.

“If I would be an opponent – I mean, I do understand he doesn't understand what's happening out there and what the chants are – but I think also, from their side, they should be a little bit more respectful to the opponents. That's all, nothing else,” he said.

“I mean, they can do what they're doing but probably with more respect.”

Greek spectators watch Stefanos Tsitsipas in action. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Can Tsitsipas break Big 3 stranglehold?

It was an excellent start for Tsitsipas as he seeks to better last year's semi-final showing.

In 2019, he beat Federer only to suffer a straight-sets beating against Nadal with a maiden grand slam final on the line.

But Tsitsipas said he was now a different player.

"I definitely feel like I'm more experienced now. Last year I did feel more as a kid who was trying to get confidence by doing certain things on the court," he said.

"Now I feel like I'm more mature ... I'm just very sure with myself."

While early days in the tournament, Tsitsipas is in line to face Djokovic in a quarter-final which would mark their first meeting at a grand slam.

with AAP