Former great takes aim at home-town fans’ behaviour during games.
Tennis icon Pat Cash has criticised fans as being “out of control” at the Australian Open after wild scenes during home hope Nick Kyrgios’s loss to Benoit Paire.
Cash said he was embarrassed at the crowd’s baiting of the French seed and warned there could be a repeat of the tournament’s infamous crowd violence.
“The crowd were absolutely going crazy. Actually I’d say out of control,” Australia’s Cash told Fox Sports, referring to the five-set marathon on Thursday.
“I thought the umpire didn’t handle that at all … it was a joke.
“Paire would throw the ball up and they’d go ‘Miss it!’, stuff like this. It was out of control.”
He added: “It’s the Australian Open, it’s got international players, it’s not a Davis Cup, it’s not a football match.
“A fair amount of the crowd had no respect whatsoever for a seeded French player, absolutely no respect.
“I was quite embarrassed and I think the officials need to do something about it.”
Fan violence has marred previous editions of the Australian Open, and Cash said there could have been a repeat if any French fans had taken exception.
“It got out of hand a few years ago with the Greeks and the Croatians having fights, I don’t want to get into who started what but if there was French people there they could have been really upset about what was going on,” he said.
Paire clawed back from two sets down against Kyrgios, 18, in a pulsating match that ran for three hours and 20 minutes on the intimate Margaret Court Arena.