Gael Monfils does not mind courtside bar at Australian Open but others hate it

The Australian Open wanted to lively up the event but does a courtside bar go too far?
Julian Finney/GettyImages

Do you want to have a few drinks and listen to some music while you are watching the Australian Open live in person? That is great, but call me the old man who says, "Get off my lawn!" when I might ask you, "Why are you even at a professional tennis match? One who loves tennis knows there is a certain decorum involved due to the amount of concentration a player needs to try to hit a tennis ball that is traveling toward them at 120 MPH (193 km). Blaring music courtside does not help.

Yet the Australian Open does not seem to mind players being bothered at Court 6 this year. To help spruce up the event and get the tournament to be more like a party instead of the tennis Grand Slam it is, the Aussie Open opened a two-story bar that is literally right next to one of the courts. The bar has a DJ and is open-air so that the players can easily hear the music and people drinking.

The existence of the bar has gotten many different reactions from players, however. 37-year-old Gael Monfils (Monfils has been no stranger to dancing on the court so why would a little music bother him?) gave the most logical response to whether the music and crowd bother him from the bar when he said, "Music? I don't really mind, to be honest. I was just focused on my match. I was blocking out, so nothing really bothered me. No, it's OK."

Australian Open courtside bar getting mixed reviews from players

It might help Monfils' perspective, though, that he won his first-round match in straight sets. A doubles team that lost had a different viewpoint, though.

Stefanos and Petros Tsitsipas were defeated in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open while playing on Court 6. After the match, Petros was asked about the bar and he said, "It's way too accessible, in a way, for the public. It was a bit noisy, so it's not so easy to concentrate." But, "The most important thing is to perform, to go out and perform in a Slam."

Stefanos Tsitsipas' girlfriend, Paula Badosa, also slammed the bar as she said during a post-match press conference, "I’ve played both of my matches there (on court 6), it’s very noisy and loud. It’s a little bit tough to concentrate and it’s not very comfortable for the players to play there. Even during the points, it’s quite noisy. I don’t know if it’s going to work in the future."

I do wonder if the bar would have been built with glass keeping the music and crowd quieter for players if that would have been a better idea. But the Australian Open organizers would likely disagree. They want a party atmosphere and they are getting one whether the players like it or not.

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