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Brawl breaks out at Melbourne Park

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Originally published on: 15/12/10 10:47

With barely a month to go until the start of the Australian Open, Tennis Australia have been forced to address the issue of violence at the nation’s tennis events after an ugly brawl erupted at Melbourne Park.

One man was arrested for assault and the emergency services were called after a fight broke out between two middle-aged men at a junior tournament yesterday.

Appalled by the incident, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour from players, parents or anyone involved in tennis and any breaches will be punished harshly.

“We put a lot of thought, time and energy into educating players, parents and officials on the appropriate behaviour, which is what makes these types of incidents so disappointing,” he added.

It’s not the first time violence has erupted at Melbourne Park. The Australian Open has been marred by violent clashes since 150 Croatians and Serbians first brawled at the event in 2007 after fans taunted each other with nationalist slogans.

Two years later, two men were arrested and 30 fans ejected after another battle broke out at the Melbourne Slam after a big-screen viewing of the third-round match between Novak Djokovic and Bosnia-born Amer Delic.

“There’s absolutely no place for that here,” said Delic at the time after fans had traded punches and kicks and a Bosnian woman had been knocked out after being hit on the head by a chair.

In the hope of cutting out any future violence at the host venue for the first Grand Slam of the year, tournament director Tiley added:

“The important thing for us is that we send a very clear message, as we do through our education program, that there are certain standards and the expectations is that everyone adheres to those expectations.”

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