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Serbs and Bosnians clash after Djokovic's victory

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-01-23

Dozens of Serbian and Bosnian fans fought after the match between Serbian Novak Djokovic and Bosnian-born American Amer Delic, bringing back violence to the Australian Open. Two years ago, 150 Croat and Serb fans engaged in a wild brawl.

REUTERS - Violence again boiled over at the Australian Open on Friday when dozens of Serbian and Bosnian fans fought after the match between Novak Djokovic and Amer Delic.

 

Police arrested two men and ejected another 30 people from the grounds after the rival supporters began throwing chairs and trading punches and kicks.

 

One woman was knocked out after being hit on the head by a chair although police later said she had not been seriously injured.

 

The fighting began in a garden outside the main centre court arena then flared up again outside Melbourne Park.

 

Inspector Chris Duthie told reporters two men had been charged with riotous behaviour and discharging a missile while another man had been fined on the spot.

 

"The matter was dealt with very quickly and effectively by the police and we expect no more problems," Duthie said.

 

"We have a very effective police presence here. You can't stop everything happening but we will make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen (again)."

 

The Australian Open, which was dubbed as the 'Happy Slam' by Roger Federer, has been marred by a series of violent clashes since 150 Croat and Serb fans engaged in a wild brawl two years ago.

 

In 2008, police used capsicum spray on a group of rowdy Greek supporters and just two days ago, two people were evicted after scuffling at a bar following a match between Croatia's Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

 

Police presence

 

There was a heavy police presence at Friday's centre court match between Serbia's Djokovic, the defending champion, and Bosnian-born American Delic.

 

Delic even posted a note on his website before the match, pleading for fans to behave and said he was disappointed when told about the fighting.

 

"I'm really sad to hear about that," he told a news conference. "As I said a couple days ago, there's absolutely no place for that here. This is a tennis match.

 

"I don't know who started, who finished, or whatever.

 

"Either way, I mean, on both sides I'm sure there were guys that wanted to cause problems."

 

Djokovic said he was unaware of the violent clashes but added it was not up the players to stop them.

 

"I don't think things got out of control today. I think actually we had a nice match," Djokovic said.

 

"I was very happy with the way the Serbs and Bosnians were cheering, reacting on everything.

 

"We have big respect for each other, Amer and myself. We know each other for a long time. He's a great guy."
 

Date created : 2009-01-23

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