Australian Open 2021 witnessed a major disruption on Sunday night, when a few political activists shouted slogans of ‘free the refugees’ during a live match. The incident occurred during the 3rd round of the encounter between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. The protest led the chair umpire to halt the contest for a while. The match was resumed once the protestors were evicted from the stadium. The protestors were seen wearing t-shirts which read ‘ free them all’ at the front and ‘ end systematic racism’ at the back.
The incident occurred during the end of the second set, and seemed to affect Daniil Medvedev who failed to hold serve and lost the second set immediately after that. The match lacked the fight of a Australian Open final, and lasted less than 2 hours. Novak Djokovic dominated the match from start to finish, winning in three sets 7-5 6-2 6-2.
Tennis players who have taken a stand on social issues
There have been a number of tennis players who have taken a stand on social issues over the years. In the recent past, players such as Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, Naomi Osaka, and even Serena Williams have raised their voice on social media when they have deemed fit.
#SerenaWilliams has in the past responded to borderline sexism with replies such as these.
#CocoGauff has in the past lent her support to the #blacklivesmatter movement.
#NaomiOsaka too has spoken out in support of protestors in Minneapolis, and against racism.
#MadisonKeys has spoken out against cyber bullying and lent her support to #KindnessWinsDay.