Australian Open 2023: Wild scenes, smashed racquet as Thanasi Kokkinakis, Andy Murray

Australian fan favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis has blown up at the umpire and smashed his racquet in front of a wild crowd at Margaret Court Arena.

The crowd – who had been asked by the umpire multiple times to be quiet – booed loudly as the umpire called a service violation in third set, with the 26-year-old leading 6-4 7-6 2-0 against Britain’s Andy Murray.

Kokkinakis appeared to have multiple disagreements with the umpire throughout the match, including a heated exchange between the second and third sets.

But the service violation call pushed him over the edge.

“What is that s***, you cannot call that while I’m waiting for a call out,” Kokkinakis yelled at the umpire.

“I was there, I waited, he said something, I go again. You’re just saying that because you felt bad about his (Murray had earlier raged over a time violation). That’s 100 per cent.”

He could then be heard saying: “What’s your problem then? You’re not waiting for s***. I’m waiting for him to stop talking.

He added: “You’re wrong, you’re wrong again. Six seconds, I’m about to serve, he calls out, I start again. They you call again. That’s a bad call again.”

He lost the next point to Murray with a return that landed on the baseline.

A fuming Kokkinakis threw his racquet to the court, smashing it. He was then handed a code violation over racquet abuse.

The match has had the rowdiest crowd of this year’s Australian Open so far.

Kokkinakis’ mate and Australia’s highest-ranked male tennis player Nick Kyrgios, who he won last year’s doubles title alongside, is well-known for attracting wild crowds.

But the attention has turned to Kokkinakis to put on a show after Kyrgios pulled out of the tournament on Monday with a knee injury.

“His mate Kyrgios isn’t here so they’re here for him,” one spectator explained to a foreigner, gesturing at the raucous crowd.

All kinds of things were being yelled out in support of Kokkinakis, including “eat him like a parma at the pub”. His name was made into multiple chants.

Both players became frustrated at times by people yelling as they were preparing to serve.

The umpire had began quieting the crowd by simply saying “please” but as the match went on, she became more stern.

“Ladies and gentleman, again, please be quiet between first and second serve,” she said at one point.

The second round match on Thursday stretched into the early hours of Friday morning.

At 2.20am, the match ticked over to four hours of play time.

The crowd dwindled off as the hours passed.

It means that if Kokkinakis secures the win he will be celebrating in front of a crowd much smaller than he started his match with for the second time this tournament.

His first round match on Tuesday was delayed by heat and then interrupted another five times by rain, ultimately being rescheduled to finish on Wednesday.

However, rain delayed play again for hours pushing the match into the night.

He won against Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-1 6-2 6-2 in just three minutes on the court on Wednesday night, more than 24 hours after the match started.

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