Tennis Nations

There is an old saying that “Tennis brings out the crazy in us”.

Okay. I’ll be honest it’s not a real saying. I just made it up. But it is true nevertheless. Tennis is such a fanatical and passionate sport. It is something about the Australian Open that makes the fans go crazy. It might be the heat, it might be the short skirts or maybe just some of the amazing shots we see during this world class event. But there is something in the air that brings out the national pride in all of us.

I am talking about all those who dress up in flags, those who paint their face and those whose chants echo through Melbourne Park.

But who of all these fans are the loudest? And which country is most supported?

Australia – Well when you are the host nation there is always going to be lots of supporters. I feel that although the Australian matches such as Lleyton Hewittand Sam Stosur are packed, Australian tend to be supporters of the game rather than the players.

Croatia – Those crazy Croats love nothing more than to win (among other things). These supporters are probably most known for the ugly scenes back in 2007 and again in 2009 when they clashed with Serbians in an unpleasant race riot. They follow such players as Marin Cilic, Ivo Karlovic and Ivan Ljubicic.

Cyprus – The Cypriot Army that follows Marcos Baghdatis has to be one of the loudest during the tournament. Back in 2006 Marcos entered the Open as an unseeded player and miraculously made it all the way to the finals, thanks to a large vocal crowd consisting of Melbourne’s large Greek community. It is hard not to get swept up into the action with the carnival-like atmosphere that follows Marcos. It is very fun to watch.

France – France is probably the most successful Tennis nation in recent times. Such fantastic players such as Richard Gasquet, Gael Monflis, Gilles Simon, Paul-Henri Matthieu, Marion Bartoli and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga have all come from France. A more relaxed supporter base shows that they care more about the plays and tactics rather than the fashion or songs.

German – Germany is one of the world’s most recognised flags. And when it is painted on faces of the Australian Open fans, you know it is going to be a wild ride. German fans seem very happy when their players win a point and when you have Philipp Kohlschreiber, Michael Berrer and Florian Mayer playing for you, how can you not be happy?

Japan – Although not a huge following, there always seems to be a lot of photographers and journalists from Japan. As a country they are slowly evolving into a proud Tennis nation.

Netherlands – At times I have seen a smattering of Dutch supporters. Their fascination with the color orange has always puzzled me. With the team followingRobin Haase and Theimo de Bakker, the Dutch seem very lively about their players often happily chanting and singing in Dutch.

Russia – The amount of players from Eastern Europe and Russia is astounding, and no doubt still growing. The supporters I feel aren’t as populated as other countries though. If the Russian community grows in Melbourne no doubt we will see the fans come out and support such fantastic players as Nikolay Davydenko,Mikhail Youzhny, Vera Zvonareva, Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Serbia – The always passionate Serbians that come to the Open are a well known force. They follow such high class players as Novak Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. Unfortunately there are some Serbs that sometimes take things to seriously as we have found out recently, but majority of the supporters are dedicated and enthusiastic about their tennis.

Spain – Every year the Spanish come out dressed in red and yellow with signs and banners that read “Vamos” (which I recently learnt means “Come on!”). The Spanish seem to support the players such as David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro, Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo, rather than Rafael Nadal. Because Nadal seems to be in the same situation as Federer.

Sweden – I have noticed that less and less Swedes come out to the Open recently. This may be because the lack of quality players compared to the past. Although Robin Soderling can hold his head up high as Sweden’s best chance at a major.

Switzerland – It seems that at the Australian Open most of Roger Federer’s fans are Australian, which doesn’t surprise me. How could you not support such a fantastic player!

United Kingdom – Speak to any English person, and they’ll tell you Andy Murray will break through soon. What they won’t tell you is that Murray is actually Scottish.  To me there doesn’t seem as many Poms in Rod Laver compared to the MCG.

United States of America – Again the supporters from USA aren’t as vocal as some others, but nevertheless present. They have always had success with the sport of tennis. Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, John Isner, Serena and Venus Williams are proud to wear the stars and stripes.

These are just some of my observations of what is a fun and interesting tournament for everyone. I know I have left a few players and countries out. So I’d love to hear about your findings aswell.

No matter what background or race, language or lifestyle, the love of tennis seems to be universal.

Cobba

About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Jake "Cobba" Stevens is currently studying Sports Journalism at La Trobe Uni. One of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne, he can't decide if the crowd was louder at the 2005 or 2012 Grand Final.

Comments

  1. Nice work Cobba.

    Don’t like the Australian fans, it’s the same as Cricket. Lleyton loses, and everyone wants his head.

  2. Cobba, i agree! how could anyone not support the FED! <3 :)

  3. ps- notice that most of the Baghdatis cheersquad is made up of muzzas ;) lol

  4. Very good read Cobba. Needed a mention of Maria Kirilenko though. Easily the most attractive female tennis player to watch and deservedly has a large contingent of male fans.

    If the Aus Open organisers were smarter, they’d put her in Rod Laver every time she played.

  5. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    #3 Danni,could you please define what a ‘Muzza’ is? I have some idea, but I need clarification.

    And Cobba, what do you mean by Serbs taking things too seriously fucken !!!

  6. Sure thing Phil, with help from Urban Dictionary-

    A muzza is a male of any descent contrary to popular belief, who spends his nights on Chapel Street with his “fully pimped out” R33 Skyline or 5Lt VN’s. He is a born bred Melbournian who spends $100 + on hair care products. A muzza is usually in Champion, Adidas, Kappa, Diesel, P.O. Box etc. for any occasion.

    Baseball caps are constantly worn alongside hair product, but to make sure they dont wreck their hair the caps sit on top of their hair (and away from the fringe). Bum-bags are a must to hold all your mobile phones (one for the bros, and one for the hoes), and also some change to spend at maccas.

    They depict no sense of class, enjoy spitting and when speaking, excessively swear and use terms like “bro”

    A common place to discover these creatures is to go to Bell st maccas where they can be seen being “fully sick” by doing burnouts in their “mad” vl’s. Chaple st is also a popular destination to find these aliens as they can be seen doing chap-laps.

    hope that helps! ;)

  7. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks Danni,

    I thought I’d encountered this ‘species’ at Bell St Maccas. There has obviously been some fault in the evolutionary process here. Who gave birth to these mutants and why do they take pride in being imbeciles?

  8. “He is a born bred Melbournian”

    Lord protect us…. even the retards are elitist south of the Murray!

  9. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    C’mon Mul, some of us still believe, despite being born or raised South of the Murray. You trying to tell me there are no heathen/bogans on your side of the Barassi line?

  10. Are Bogans neccessarily heathens? I would have thought them more likely pagans in that they would appear to be polythesists and idolators worshiping as it would seem the internal combustion engine and themselves. Can there be such a thing as a fundamentalist Christian Bogan? Can’t see why not. That would make for an interesting image a car full of Bros doing chapslaps in the fully sick WRX belting out Christian rock….eating filet of fish on a friday night.

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