After retiring from his second round match at the Australian Open, trailing 1-4 in the fourth set to World No. 188 Damir Dzumhur, Dodig expressed his disappointment with the Bosnian contingent of the crowd at Melbourne Park, stating that this was not a “tennis atmosphere.”
“I think this was not a tennis atmosphere,” Dodig told The New York Times. “These people came on the wrong site, they should be at a soccer match or somewhere, because probably they know nothing about tennis.”
While Dodig was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian-Australian portion of the crowd clearly favoured his opponent, Dzumhur.
Melbourne is home to thousands of immigrants from Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia, and they clearly made themselves noticed at the Australian Open, as Dzumhur was quick to point out.
“Really, I’m playing Australian Open, and I feel like I’m playing some Bosnian Open,” Dzumhur stated after the match. “I feel like I’m at home, really. This is an amazing thing, the spectators, the fans, they’re just unbelievable.”
Dzumhur made history this week, when he became the first Bosnian to qualify for a Grand Slam and then work his way to a third-round encounter with Tomas Berdych. According to the 21-year-old, his achievement is a feat equal in national popularity to the Bosnian football team’s recent qualification into its first World Cup in Brasil this year.
“It’s a big thing for Bosnia. It’s like the football team, who qualified for the World Cup in Brasil for the first time. That was huge, and this can compare.”