‘Wild’ on-court row rocks Aussie Open
A wild argument that stretched on for more than 10 minutes has stunned the Australian Open.
British doubles star Jamie Murray and notorious hothead Barbora Strycova were reportedly at the centre of the altercation during a mixed doubles match on 1573 Arena at Melbourne Park.
In just the second game of the first set, all four players are reported to have shared heated words before the chair umpire and a tournament official came down onto the court to try and pry the warring parties apart.
According to witness claims on social media, the quarrel stretched for 10 minutes and 29 seconds as the match spiralled into a complete meltdown.
New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg described the altercation as "wild".
Strycova is the calm one out here, it’s wild.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 26, 2020
Supervisor on court. #AusOpen
A very lengthy (maybe 10 mins) debate about the hindrance rule in the Murray/Mattek-Sands vs Melo/Strycova mixed doubles match. Referee on court and everything. Strycova: “This is a joke!”— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 26, 2020
Btw, it’s only the second game of the match. #AusOpen
Também rolou a Bara pistola enfiando o dedo na cara do Jamie falando que ele contou a história errada pro supervisor. pic.twitter.com/RYGgqLrS6f— Aliny Calejon (@alcalejon) January 26, 2020
The heated disagreement is reported to have kicked off in the doubles contest between No. 1 seeds Strycova and Marcelo Melo and opponents Murray and Bethanie Mattek-Sands when Mattek-Sands moved to challenge a ball that landed near the line before pulling out of the challenge.
Mattek-Sands is reported to have put her hand up to challenge before the play eventually continued. When Strycova and Melo eventually lost the point, the pair are reported to have complained to the chair umpire that Mattek-Sands' aborted challenge put them off.
The umpire agreed that Mattek-Sands' action was enough to distract her opponents and awarded the pair the point.
A furious Andy Murray then turned on the umpire to complain about the controversial call.
His angry conversation with the umpire soon had Strycova charging to the net to argue with the Scottish doubles specialist.
It soon kicked off into an outright altercation that had the pair in each other's face despite standing on opposite sides of the net.
Strycova is reported to have screamed at the chair umpire at one point: "This is a joke".
All booting off in Jamie Murray's mixed doubles match.— Jonathan Jurejko (@J_Jurejko) January 26, 2020
There is a 10 minute (and 29 second) delay between points as Barbora Strycova labels an umpire call "a joke".
She also has a pop at Murray before we finally resume... with smiles.
The argument brought a tournament supervisor onto the court - and even that wasn't enough to calm things down.
Rothenberg reported the argument between Murray and Strycova went for so long that partners Melo and Mattek-Sands took a seat while their partners continued to exchange words.
After more than 10 minutes, Murray and Mattek-Sands were finally able to challenge the ruling on the ball that Mattek-Sands originally wanted to challenge and it was revealed to have landed out.
Murray and Mattek-Sands went on to lose the first set.
Strycova has earned a reputation as one of the prickliest customers in tennis.
At last year's Australian Open she was engaged in a running war of words with Yulia Putintseva after beating her in the first round of the Australian Open.
Strycova reacted sharply when Putintseva appeared to squeezer her hand too firmly in their post-match hand shake.
I KNEW STRYCOVA AND PUTINTSEVA WON'T DISSAPPOINT ME! HANDSHAKE OF THE YEAR pic.twitter.com/hCo1PHmGnS— LorenaPopa 🕵️♀️🎾 (@popalorena) January 14, 2019
"I like to squeeze hand normal, but she squeezed me, like, hardcore! These bones - oww! Oww!" Strycova said afterwards.
"I was like, 'Why'd you do that?' She said, 'You squeezed my hand.' I said, 'I squeezed your hand normal! Just let it be.'
"I didn't really care. It's nothing big. Just, why?"