A ruthless exchange between a selfie-hunting tennis fan and an Australian Open security guard on Sunday night has been captured on camera for all to see.
The incident took place just moments before the eventual champion Jannik Sinner left the warm-up tunnel and — unfortunately for the man — right as the global broadcast kicked off.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Aus Open security intervenes over man’s pre-match request.
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Sinner was zipping up his jacket and checking his racquet bag when he heard a voice from out of the picture.
A nod follows and a man enters into view holding his phone, quickly leaning back against a dividing fence for a selfie with the tennis star.
But the credentialed ticketholder was being tracked all the way by not just one but two Australian Open officials.
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Whether Sinner himself was happy to take the photo or only begrudgingly agreed is unclear — and it also didn’t matter.
The official closest to the fan was unsuccessful in directing him away from Sinner but they were soon helped in the endeavour by a more merciless colleague.
Jannik Sinner agreed to the selfie request but security quickly intervened. Credit: AO
Immediately after snapping the photo the man was confronted by a security guard who pulled the credentials clean off his neck.
Making matters worse, the security guard’s disapproving shake of the head was followed by an arm on the man’s shoulder before he was whisked away from the area.
The selfie was referenced by commentator Mark Petchey in a monologue to open the coverage but the consequences went unmentioned.
“Hello and welcome to everyone for today’s men’s final of the Australian Open,” he said.
“And there is one of the men of the moment and everybody wants to get a picture with him prior to the final because he may well emerge as the champion, Jannik Sinner.”
The man’s credential was pulled clean off his neck. Credit: AO
And so it was for the young Italian, who five hours later was walking around Melbourne Park with trophy in hand.
Security then had no issues with fans lining up for high-fives for Sinner as he made his way out for a 12.30am interview in front of a huge crowd.
Sinner’s victory brought Melbourne’s Italian community to the tennis in numbers similar to when Greek supporters jump on board.
But the new face, competing in his maiden grand slam final, also proved popular to the wider Australian Open fan base after becoming the first next-generation star to take it to world No.1 Novak Djokovic deep in the tournament.
“It’s the ‘happy slam’, it’s a very, very nice place to be,” Sinner said.
“In Europe it’s snow and where my parents are it’s minus 20 degrees in the morning, so it’s better running in the sun here.
“It’s obviously a huge tournament for me, I want to thank everyone for making this slam so special.”