Tennis

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Aryna Sabalenka mocked by the Australian crowd for her grunting

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Things certainly got quite surreal in the Australian Open today as the crowd got more than a little involved in a dramatic first-round clash between homegrown star Ashleigh Barty and Belarussian teenager Aryna Sabalenka.

Sabalenka was causing all sorts of problems for the 18th seed Barty, not only with her explosive groundstrokes but also with her ear-splitting grunting.

The 19-year-old has already developed a reputation for being one of the loudest players competing and once again tested the hearing of all those in attendance.

Needless to say the disturbing sounds emanating from the young Belarussian player was also causing some disturbance to the focus of an increasingly irritated Barty.

Regularly turning to her box in frustration at her opponent's noisy antics, the partisan crowd rallied in support of their compatriot with some cruel mocking of the teenager.

After taking the first set on a tiebreaker, the 19-year-old Sabalenka's incessant shrieking was increasingly beginning to irritate the crowd and as the second set progressed some fans took to taunting the teenager by mimicking her unusual noises. 

And as you can probably imagine, it only got worse when the umpire asked the fans to refrain from screaming during the rally - see below.

Barty was seemingly unimpressed with the crowd's behaviour, and you've got to have some sympathy for her young opponent, who was playing in the main draw of the event for the first time in her career.

Nevertheless, Barty demonstrated why she is a potential dark horse for this year's tournament by storming back to win a closely fought contest, prevailing 6-4 in the third set.

For Sabalenka, she can reflect on an extremely promising debut in Melbourne but will undoubtedly be chastened by the hometown crowd's reaction to her less than conventional sounds. 

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Topics:
Australian Open
Maria Sharapova
Tennis

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