By Nick Mulvenney
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Stefanos Tsitsipas has called on his army of fans to show a little more respect to his opponents at the Australian Open, but for local hopeful John Millman the rowdier the crowd the better.
Tsitsipas made his plea after his first-round win on Margaret Court Arena on Monday, when Melbourne’s large Greek community turned out in force to cheer him to victory.
Millman rode a similar wave of support from his compatriots on Court Three on Tuesday to reach the second round at his home Grand Slam with a 7-6 6-3 1-6 7-5 victory over French young gun Ugo Humbert.
The world number 47 is known to relish a good old-fashioned dogfight, especially when playing on one of Melbourne Park’s outside courts.
“Yeah, look, I love a vocal crowd,” the 30-year-old told reporters.
“I like feeding off the crowd’s energy. I try to bring that physicality, and sometimes you need that little bit of motivation on the sidelines.
“I love playing on that court, actually, in Show Court Three. I have had some really good moments there. And, you know, the more rowdy they are, the drunker they are, the better…”
Millman joked that organizers should ply the crowd with the notoriously strong Chinese liquor made by tournament sponsors Luzhou Laojiao to help feed the frenzy.
While fans on the main showcourts need to buy a reserved seat, the crowd on Court Three is made up of fans with cheaper general entry passes who often have to queue up to get a spot on the bleachers.
Millman said that meant they were often quite a different demographic from the more moneyed Australians usually associated with the sport.
And in his opinion that could only be a good thing.
“We are an entertainment business and we’ve got to get people from all walks of life through the gates and appreciating tennis and all the other things,” Millman added.
“I love it. I use the crowd. I love the support that I get here in Melbourne. It makes the matches really memorable and worthwhile.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)