Google Down the Line!: (UPDATED) THE LOW DOWN: Violent eruption between Serb + Bosnian fans marr Aussie Open again

Friday, January 23, 2009

(UPDATED) THE LOW DOWN: Violent eruption between Serb + Bosnian fans marr Aussie Open again

Ethnic violence between groups of Serbian and Bosnian tennis fans reared its ugly head at the Aussie Open today again today.

The incident occurred as the fans sat outside in Garden Square watching the tight 4-set battle between Serb Novak Djokovic and American via Bosnia Amer Delic in the third round won by the defending champ. A thrown drink was the alledgedly the catalyst of the 20-person riot which was followed by punches and a tossed metal chair that hit a female bystander. Two men will be charged with "riotous behavior and discharging a missile." Two years ago, an violent incident involving 150 fans from both countries marred the Grand Slam.

Amer had posted a message on his website to his supporters earlier in the week asking for calm after disruptive Serbian fans appeared at his match against Frenchie Paul-Henri Mathieu. They had just watched countryman Janko Tipsarevic fall to Croat Marin Cilic before appearing at Amer's match.

A few of the ballers from the countries involved expressed their thoughts on the incident.

Novak Djokovic:

I can't do much. I'm on the court. I have to keep my focus on the tennis, because I need to win the match. As I said, authorities are there, chair umpires, referees, the people, security. If they think that they're overreacting or somebody is complaining about them, then it's different and they can do something about it.
Jelena Jankovc:
Not really, because I was playing after [Nole]. I heard about it, you know, that there was some fighting or something between the fans. I think overall it's great that the fans come and support us. But I think the most important thing is that they should respect each other, the fans and our opponents. The crowd should be quite fair and just go out there and enjoy the match.

Ana Ivanovic:
It's very sad. I think sport is a great thing to bring people together. No matter from where you come from, it's important that everyone be enjoying and happy and enjoy the tennis or sport at all. I'm very sad to see these things happening. Kind of every year here and there a little bit. I really hope in the future people can end this and appreciate the tennis and the hard work we put in and just enjoy it rather than have fights.
Amer Delic:
Yeah, I just heard about that. I'm really sad to hear about that. As I said a couple days ago, there's absolutely no place for that here. This is a tennis match. As I'm sure you all saw at the end, I mean, Novak and I are friends. We're both competitors, obviously. In the end it was a fair match, and there was no reason for such things.

It's so unfortunate these incidents have to occur but it seems past resentments + alcohol = trouble.

Let's try to keep the focus on tennis over there.

UPDATE: Here's video of the clash courtesy of ESPN2 - what a shame:

(image via


  1. hi Rich!
    actually delic is from bosnia, so this incident was between serb and bosnian fans

  2. Thanks my fingers did the walking!


    I don't get these things. I don't get it at all.

  4. I'm thinking ban the sale of beer. It's always some rowdy intoxicated fans who can't be quiet or .. you know, sit down in a chair.

  5. It's such a tricky line because I would imagine most of the fans having drinks come and enjoy the tennis without incident. But yeah once it gets into the wrong hands it's madness.

    I, for one, like having a cold one (or 10) while watching a great tennis match.

  6. And what about all the other fans who just want to drink some beer?

  7. Good idea, Pamela - alcohol always seems to bring out the worst in people, especially where there is bad blood concerned. I know the tournaments obviously want to keep selling alcohol to maximise profits, but incidents like this are hardly good for their profile!

  8. I know the tensions in the Balkan region run deep, but seriously? This nationalism at the AO has got to stop. It does nobody any good and it ruins things for everyone else who just want to see some tennis.

  9. it does seem to be most prevalent at the AO as opposed to the other slams-- that kind of super nationalistic behavior doesn't happen, for example, at the us open (that i'm aware of), even though the us and australia are both multicultural countries composed of many different nationalities and ethnicities, religions, etc. There must be a fundamental sociological or cultural variance that explains the difference-- someone should write a paper on it! (not me, please...)

  10. As a son of ex-yugo-argentinian to see this is an embarrassment. This topic can go forever, but I will ignored cause those people are not tennis fans.

  11. This is really a bloody shame and it ruins it for the rest of us. This debacle makes me feel dirty and embarassed and the only thing I've done wrong is ignore my homework in order to follow the tournament.

    *smiles and pretends to work as French teacher walks by*
    (I'm at school right now lol)

  12. This are just troublemakers no tennisfans at all.

  13. I certainly don't have a solution, but once something becomes problematic then they need an answer. Better security at least.

    The AO is notorious for the nationalities that show up to support their players, so it's bound to be tension filled, the beer just makes them louder and rowdier.

    Can you imagine tomorrow? The Serbs and Bagh's Greeks? That's going to be a loud match and of course I'll be watching.

  14. Dear French teacher of anon reader in school while commenting on DtL,

    I, RiCH, take no responsibility for distracting your student, anonymous, with tennis news + gossip while said student was in French class. It was done of his or her (or somewhere in between?) own free will.


    RiCH, DtL

    PS - Feel free to check out the blog French teacher but on your personal time, of course.

  15. Don't worry Rich, my French teacher is pretty laid back and she doesn't get upset at me because I kiss ass. She caught me staring (alright drooling) at pictures of Richard Gasquet once and thought that it was good that I was so interested in French culture (yeah.. culture)

    P.S. I'm a tennis-loving girl (feel free to pass that on to Gasquet)

  16. This is not just between Serbs and Bosnians. Keep in mind, that Taylor Dent was playing Amer Delic before the Matthieu match.
    These Bosnian fans harrassed poor Taylor and he was NOT from the Balkan region. I think these Bosnians are punks.

    Bully-boy fans out of control, says Phil Dent
    Dent said the fans' behaviour was allowed to continue despite his son making repeated pleas to umpire Ali Katebi.

    "Even though Taylor asked the umpire, because they were interrupting the serve ... they were chanting on the line calls, in the middle of points. Basically they were out of control," Dent said.

    "I can tell you one thing, if Taylor had the same support with another group of people, there would have been a riot.

    "It's a pretty tight court so when you get a bunch of people there leaning over the fence and taunting ... they came there to disrupt Taylor's game. They didn't come there to support the player (Delic) in any way.

    "I've played at a lot of places where the crowd is against you and you're in a hostile environment, but there is a point where it becomes unacceptable.",25197,24940502-2722,00.html

  17. These people just had way too much to drink...

    Neil Parker

  18. I have Serbian heritage in my family myself, but I totally don't get this whole Serbian - Bosnian hate thing. Certainly almost all ex-Yugoslavian people I know don't care about it at all.

    I guess it's these small groups with small brains and lots of beer that usually stand out because they're so loud and behaving obnoxiously.

    However, as for the alcohol-during-tournaments-discussion: I for one don't really see how sports and alcohol would match anyway. Which is why I'm avoiding soccer matches LOL.
    Of course, as long as people who drink don't harrass other people, I'll have to be fine with it.


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