Liam Broady panned the intimidating home support for Nick Krygios at the Australian Open as an “absolutely awful” experience and one of the toughest atmospheres in which to play tennis.
The Englishman was repeatedly booed and sledged by bawdy sections of the crowd inside John Cain Arena, which Kyrgios often refers to as a “zoo” as he went down in straight sets to the mercurial Australian on Tuesday night.
The 128th-ranked Broady said it was a very difficult environment to handle.
“Everyone told me: ‘Oh you’ll really enjoy it. It’s going to be amazing.’ But I thought it was absolutely awful,” Broady told reporters.
“I obviously wanted to go out there and win, so, I mean, losing matches in general isn’t enjoyable.
“The atmosphere was incredible, it’s the first time I’ve ever walked on to a tennis court and been booed, which was, which for me was a crazy experience.
“You get sledged from the sides like you can’t believe that they don’t pick up on TV. So it was a very, very difficult atmosphere to try and handle.”
Asked if he could repeat some of the fruity sledges, Broady replied: “Not much of it, no. I was pretty surprised at it, to be honest.
“I try not to let it [bother me], obviously it’s got to be water off a duck’s back. You’re focused on trying to win the match. But it was definitely a different experience.”
Broady marvelled at how Kyrgios the showman interacted with the noisy crowd during the near two-hour match.
“He’s incredible at getting them behind him and he plays better for it. I think that’s very rare, especially in the sport of tennis,” he said.
“Now people don’t really interact with the crowd like he does and that’s one of his biggest strengths.”
Broady, also sported rainbow laces during his match to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.
“I just wanted to send the support. I’ve seen questions before about why there aren’t any openly gay men on the ATP tour, and I just wanted to voice my support in that kind of general area.
“And the LGBTQ community, a lot of those guys have given me a lot of support throughout my career and have been there since day one, so I kind of wanted to give a thank you of my own sort of way.”