For many years we have been blessed to be able to watch the world’s best tennis players compete at the Australian Open. These players bring patriotic and passionate fans through the gates of Melbourne Park. Australian Open officials welcome all fans with open arms, accounting for them when creating the daily schedules, in order to ensure no fans miss out on seeing their beloved stars grace the court.
Australian players have the luxury of having the crowd on their side whenever they step onto the court at Melbourne Park, and you can always find several cheer squads for the Aussies in different pockets of each stadium. But there are many international stars who have significant fans of their own. Let's take a look at the players who's loyal fan bases enter the gates of Melbourne Park every year without fail.
Dudi Sela - Israel
Current ATP Singles Ranking: 381
Best Australian Open Result: 3rd Round (2009, 2015, 2016)
Israel's Dudi Sela enjoys some of the strongest support of any international player at the Australian Open. For over a decade, Sela’s fans have come out in force, filling up grandstands and creating a raucous atmosphere, to show their support for Israel’s top ranked tennis player.
Sela’s loyal army of fans often attract a large following from the general public as well as the international media. When they’re in full voice, Sela’s fans can be heard all corners of Melbourne Park. The Israeli's most famous performance came in the second round of the 2016 Australian Open when he overcame a red-hot Fernando Verdasco, who had just shocked Rafael Nadal in the first round. Sela is known for embracing his fans after every match at Melbourne Park - win or loss, taking photos with fans and dancing with them on the fence of the court. It must be acknowledged that Seal's incredibly passionate fans have willed him over the line on several occasions.
With 2022 looming as Sela’s final year on the tour, he has not made the main draw cut and will be in qualifying, but you can still expect his fans to pack the stands and spur him on one last time.
Stefanos Tsitsipas - Greece
Current ATP Singles Ranking: 4
Best Australian Open Result: Semi Final (2021)
Maria Sakkari - Greece
Current WTA Singles Ranking: 6
Best Australian Open Result: 4th Round (2020)
The Greek fans bring tremendous passion and flare to the stands whenever their two-star players are in action. One thing that sets the Greek fans apart from the rest is the numbers they come in. Australian Open organisers like to schedule Greek players on at least one of the show courts to accomodate for their fans, who turn up in mass numbers, and can often be seen taking up majority of seats behind the baseline.
Both Sakkari and Tsitsipas will no doubt be welcomed by the boisterous support of their fans as they aim to go deep at the 2022 Australian Open.
Cristian Garin - Chile
Current ATP Singles Ranking: 17
Best Australian Open Result: 2nd Round (2020)
Chilean star Cristian Garín will be seeded at this years Australian Open, and his support continues to grow as he reaches stardom in his home country. The Chileanfans bring a special atmosphere to the court with their non-stop soccer-style singing always being one of the highlights of the Open.
Grigor Dimitrov - Bulgaria
Current ATP Singles Ranking: 28
Best Australian Open Result: Semi Final (2017)
The Bulgarian fans are some of the most loyal fans in the world. Last year they received world-wide praise for their virtual support of their beloved Grigor Dimitrov. With fewer restrictions this time around, we can expect Dimitrov’s legion of fans to bring back their flare and passion to the stands.
Naomi Osaka - Japan
Current WTA Singles Ranking: 13
Best Australian Open Result: Champion (2019, 2021)
Osaka’s admirers and fans continue to grow down under. The Japanese star's maiden Grand Slam win in 2019 parachuted her to being one of the fan favourites of the Australian Open.
They may not be the loudest, but Osaka has always enjoyed the support of the Japanese community in Melbourne. After a difficult 2021, I am sure the Japanese fans will rally around Osaka as she begins her quest for a third Australian Open title.
Novak Djokovic - Serbia
Current ATP Singles Ranking: 1
Best Australian Open Result: Champion (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021)
The world number one has some of the most passionate, loud and loyal fans. You will always find large numbers of Serbian fans both inside Rod Laver Arena, where Djokovic has won nine Australian Open titles, as well as at Garden Square - just outside Rod Laver Arena, cheering on their man on the big screen.
Thousands of Serbian fans have flocked Melbourne Park over the years on the final night of the Open, where Djokovic has lifted the title nine times. They will be hoping to make it ten in 2022.