Misc Tennis

Players divided on Australian Open’s courtside bar atmosphere

Players divided on Australian Open's courtside bar atmosphere

MELBOURNE, Australia — A 37-year-old veteran didn’t mind the music, and a 16-year-old qualifier debuting in the Australian Open main draw picked up on the vibe from the two-story courtside bar and thought it was energizing.

Petros Tsitsipas didn’t like it one bit as he and his brother, 2023 Australian Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas, lost their first-round doubles match: “It’s a very weird concept, in my opinion.”

There’s a certainly a buzz around the bar that overlooks Court 6 and gives Australian Open fans a shady place to have a cool drink on a hot day, which is something of a national tradition.

It’s popular with fans, but the music and constant movement adjacent to a Grand Slam tennis court is dividing opinion among players.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has a strong following among Melbourne’s big Greek population, wasn’t impressed after losing in doubles Tuesday to Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela and Daniel Altmaier.

“The DJ and stuff, I just kind of remembered, it was somewhere in my subconscious where I could feel the movement and all that kind of action going on in the background,” he said. “I’m not a huge fan of it.”

He plays his main draw singles matches on the show courts, where there are fewer distractions — although spectators are allowed to enter the arenas after each game now in Australia instead of during every change of ends.

Petros Tsitsipas is more familiar with the outside courts around Grand Slam venues in Melbourne and New York, where crowds can get rowdy and sometimes old-school tennis conventions don’t apply. But the new bar so close to the court was too much for him.

“It’s way too accessible, in a way, for the public,” he said. “It was a bit noisy, so it’s not so easy to concentrate.”

Despite his concerns, he didn’t want to blame the party area for his loss.

“The most important thing is to perform,” he said, “to go out and perform in a Slam.”

The tournament attracted almost 90,000 spectators on Day 1 and more than 80,000 on Day 2, with organizers offering more shade and more places to relax and unwind.

Gael Monfils, 37, has been playing at the Australian Open since 2005 and has had big moments on the main arenas and the further-flung courts. He played on Court 6 in his 51st Australian Open main draw singles match late Monday afternoon.

“Music? I don’t really mind, to be honest,” the Frenchman said. “I was just focused on my match. I was blocking out, so nothing really bothered me. No, it’s OK.”


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