According to Nick Kyrgios, he probably wouldn’t have won his extraordinary Australian Open match on Wednesday night without the “insane” parochial Aussie crowd at John Cain Arena.
Kyrgios sent those in attendance into absolute raptures as he saved two match points and somehow came back from the dead to beat Frenchman Ugo Humbert 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.
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Kyrgios later praised the crowd for their support, however there were many viewers watching at home who weren’t impressed.
Many felt that the crowd crossed the line between cheering for their hometown hero to actively cheering Humbert’s errors.
Spectators could be heard cheering after Humbert served a fault or made an unforced error, behaviour that a number of social media users labelled “disgusting” and “pathetic”.
“The behaviour of the Aussie crowd during this Kyrgios / Humbert match is disgusting,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“I am appalled. Cheering faults & double faults by the Frenchman, and the like.
“The head Tournament Referee or Director should step in.”
Another wrote: “The Aussie crowd are an absolute joke, it has to be said.”
The behaviour of the Aussie crowd @AustralianOpen during this Kyrgios / Humbert match is disgusting. I am appalled. Cheering faults & double faults by the Frenchman, and the like. The head Tournament Referee or Director should step in. #AustralianOpen2021
— Kristin Devitt (@KristinDevitt) February 10, 2021
I love Nick Kyrgios as much as anyone, but the crowd are incredibly disrespectful to Ugo #AusOpen
— Luke (@Marruso89) February 10, 2021
Kyrgios saves a match point and breaks Humbert for 5-5 in the 4th!
The Aussie crowd are an absolute joke, it has to be said… #AusOpen
— Blaynos (@Blaynos14) February 10, 2021
Pathetic from the Aussie crowd cheering every Humbert fault. Kyrgios saves 2 match points and is back in this one. #AusOpen
— Steven (@steven_casta21) February 10, 2021
He wouldn’t even get there without bullying the umpire, arousing the crowd, breaking stuff… The crowd were disgusting to the young French guy. No way, Kyrgios will win this anywhere else.. Let’s see how Thiem would handle that mob🤔🤔
— Lena T. 😷🐲🐲 (@billie_sport) February 10, 2021
crowd and #kyrgios a disgrace for the sport, great tennis but no sportsmanship plus you don’t cheer on double faults
— jedi-elect fasstaerke ❤️👊😉 (@fasstaerke) February 10, 2021
During Humbert vs Kyrgios game today the fans were disgusting cheering double faults 🤦🏾♂️ Wait till Thiem shows up tomorrow he’ll shut you all up #AO2021
— Amphetamine (@tdd_45) February 10, 2021
Nick Kyrgios in awe of frenzied Aussie crowd
Initially unsure exactly how he pulled off the comeback victory, Kyrgios said an “insane” atmosphere helped, as well as the thought of facing the backlash that would have followed a loss.
“I was afraid to come into this room, you know,” he told a press conference after the match.
“(And) go to my Airbnb and just read about it and take it all in, take all the negativity in that I have already taken.
“It’s not easy to come back and try and put it all behind.
“I have been through a lot, and I didn’t just put my hand in a lucky dip and disappear.”
Kyrgios said he was “in awe” of the thunderous crowd at John Cain Arena.
“The stadium definitely didn’t feel half full, that’s for sure.”
For his part, Kyrgios said he did get the sense that something special could unravel when he broke back in the fourth set.
“There was a moment … I was, like, ‘dude, this could be one of the most memorable matches of your career and you owe it to yourself’,” he said.
Kyrgios next faces 2020 finalist and US Open champion Dominic Thiem for a spot in the last 16.
“I have a lot of respect for him. I think his style of tennis is not easy to play. He’s super physical,” he said of Thiem.
“But I’m not even thinking about it. I’m hurting just thinking about playing him right now.”
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