Bilingual Police Officers Deployed To Monitor Rowdy Greek Fans At The Australian Open
Victoria Police is sending bilingual officers to the Australian Open to keep a close eye on the lips of rowdy and disruptive fans.
Greek-speaking authorities will be asked to listen to chants coming from fans of Greek tennis sensation and world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas, as well as his fellow female compatriot Maria Sakkari, The Age reports.
The move follows the ejection of up to 20 Greek supporters from Melbourne Park on Wednesday. They were accused of displaying disruptive behaviour during Sakkari’s match.
Some fans wear wearing shirts promoting the Hellas Fan Club -- a group which clashed with police at the 2008 Australian Open, when they were supporting Greek Cypriot player Marcos Baghdatis.
Political chants are not deemed inappropriate or offensive themselves and police are instead looking out for individuals using criminally offensive language, acting commander Darren Franks told Fairfax.
“We are lucky to have many officers born overseas and who also speak another language, and we are using those officers," he said.
"We are working with Australian Open organisers around some early interjection work with security at the Open. As soon as we see any antisocial or disruptive behaviour we will act."
He added that fan behaviour has been relatively good during the event so far but unruly supporters won't be tolerated.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, has thanked fans for their passionate support but asked them to be "respectful of others".
"We are an inclusive event and won’t tolerate any antisocial behaviour," he said.
“As always, we don’t comment on security, but work closely with Victoria Police and security experts to ensure the safety of everyone attending the tennis.”
After being ejected on Wednesday Greek fans hit back at organisers branding them as racist.
Melbourne man Armani Nikkas told The Herald Sun that the group had only been celebrating and "supporting our people" and could not believe that he was seeing.
"Today we were supporting our country, the Greeks, and we were chanting and people kicked us out for no reason. I feel like it’s a racist approach," he said.
"After the game, we won, and then we celebrated how we do, but people think it’s taking it too far."
Tsitsipas is due to play Canadian Milos Raonic in the third round today.