The backlash came during an awards ceremony after Novak Djokovic’s victory over Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final, which saw the Serbian win his ninth Australian Open and 18th Grand Slam title .
Loud boos could be heard from the crowd of around 7,400 in Melbourne during a speech by Tennis Australia chief Jayne Hrdlicka, in which she suggested the time had come for “optimism and the hope “with the vaccinations” deployed in many countries of the world “.
Hrdlicka continued to speak, only to be interrupted by further taunts after thanking the state government. “You are a very opinionated group of people,” Hrdlicka said in response to the crowd’s reaction.
The booing incident followed a disrupted final at the Rod Laver Arena, in which two protesters were kicked out by security personnel for shouting pro-refugee slogans, CNN affiliate Seven News reported . Play was also briefly interrupted when Medvedev demanded that fans shout and whistle “show some respect” as he prepared to serve, with the referee telling the crowd to “please keep things going. fair “.
It’s unclear why the crowd booed the mention of the vaccine.
The incident comes as Australia rolls out its national immunization program on Monday, with healthcare workers and the elderly among the first to be vaccinated.
Australia has obtained more than 150 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, with the first batch of Pfizer vaccines arriving in the country last week, according to health officials.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on Monday called the behavior of Australian Open spectators “disgusting,” according to Seven News, saying the vaccine would bring Australia “back to some kind of pre-Covid normalcy “.
Former Australian tennis star Rennae Stubbs also describes the hoot
by spectators as “shameful”. Other Australian public figures, including author and astrophysicist Lisa Harvey-Smith, joined in condemning the hues of the vaccine rollout, with Harvey-Smith saying onlookers should “watch carefully. to their privilege. “
The hues at the Australian Open followed a series of small protests across the country on Saturday, where hundreds of immunization advocates gathered to protest against the immunization program days before it began.
The rallies took place in several major Australian cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, according to Seven News. Protesters held up placards with slogans such as “You will never take our freedom” and “My body, my choice”.
Australia has been one of the best performing countries in the world at containing the coronavirus, thanks to its relative isolation and highly effective prevention measures against Covid-19, including the mandatory quarantine of hotels for arrivals , quick locks, and free public testing.
Spectators were even briefly banned from the Australian Open itself last week after a small outbreak in Melbourne sent the city into a government-mandated five-day lockdown.
About 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to be given by the end of February, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office, but Morrison has repeatedly said he will not make the vaccines mandatory.
It is difficult to gauge the size of the anti-vaccination movement in Australia, which has been bolstered in recent months by the support of prominent advocates including anti-immigration Senator Pauline Hanson and celebrity leader Pete Evans. Evans spoke at an anti-vaccination rally in Sydney on Saturday, according to Seven News,
An Essential Media poll in January 2021 found that one in 10 Australians said they “would never get vaccinated”.
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