Normally, this wouldn't be blinked at, however, during the incident, the police had to use capsicum spray, and in a grandstand environment where people are seated closely together, quite a lot of other fans ended up getting doused.
What caught my attention, was that the fans making all the noise were predominantly Australian, were waving Greek flags and were cheering on Marcos Baghdatis who is a Cypriot, born and bred in Limassol.
I'm sure that I'm not the only person who notices that something is a little bit wrong with this, so let's put it in it's correct context for a moment.
Imagine that Justine Henin was being cheered on by a bunch of fans waving French flags. This would cause a bit of diplomatic embarrassment in France but in the current climate in Belgium could cause serious grief.
Belgium is going through one of those problem periods where some within the French-speaking part of the population - the "Walloons" - are talking about separating from the Dutch-speaking part - the Flemish.
So I thought I'd take the time to look at other potential situations to see if this behaviour should be considered appropriate:
- An Australian player of Anglo-Saxon parentage is cheered on by a bunch of Englishmen waving the cross of St George. This would be merely considered wrong.
- A US player of Irish extraction is cheered on by fans waving the tricolour of Ireland. Again, ditto.
- A Taiwanese player gets the royal treatment from fans waving Chinese flags. Approval from China. Disapproval expressed by the USA.
- A Tibetan player is greeted with fans waving Tibetan flags. Certain diplomatic incident.
- A Macedonian player of Greek extraction has fans in the crowd waving Greek flags. Certain riot, police called in.
- A Bosnian player has a bunch of fans waving Serbian flags thanks to his Serbian heritage. Riot, stadium burnt down, police call in army for back-up.
So I would think that, based on all of that, the Australian Open organisers are playing with fire in allowing this to continue.
Has anyone in the media called for this practise to be banned yet?