Australia Open fans have been given unprecedented access behind the scenes.
Australia Open fans have been given unprecedented access behind the scenes.

Has ‘Big Brother’ coverage crossed the line?

Behind-the-scenes footage has gone viral throughout the Australian Open, with more cameras than ever able to capture athletes expressing their raw emotions - and leading to some funny exchanges as well.

Fans around the world felt for Croatian star Petra Martic when she was captured breaking down in the hall on the walk back to the players' locker room and bursting into tears.

She'd blown two sets up 3-1 and the emotion simply took its toll, as she slumped into a corner where she believed she was free to sob in private - completely unaware of the prying camera sitting meters from her.

"It's just heartbreaking to watch," noted one member of ESPN's commentary team.

"This is just pure agony."

Petra Martic was captured breaking down after her defeat to Sloane Stephens.
Petra Martic was captured breaking down after her defeat to Sloane Stephens.

The vision was similarly engrossing following Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta's extraordinary blow-up after his tie-breaker meltdown in a five-set defeat to Japan's Kei Nishikori.

As Busta made his way back to the locker room, after a remarkable on-court tantrum, he continued to scream and kick items as stunned staff looked on - but he may not have been aware his actions were about to go global.

With cameras positioned throughout Melbourne Park, fans are being given unprecedented access to the biggest tennis stars on the planet. But the question is being asked about whether the coverage has gone too far, and if players' rights are being impinged.

Men's world No.1 Novak Djokovic lamented the "Big Brother society" that leads to such unfettered access.

"The only thing I don't like is there is no connection between the ice baths, recovery centre and the locker rooms," Djokovic said.

"I have seen a lot of players, including Fabio Fognini who is our favourite male model in his bath robe, you know, going back and forth.

"I guess for women, it's even worse because they have to go out and they are in a towel because they just went out from the bath and they didn't carry their bag to change their clothes so they have to go back, and there is camera and corridors and people.

Busta prepares takes out his frustration on his bag. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Busta prepares takes out his frustration on his bag. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

"That's the only thing I mind a little bit.

"But other than that, you know, we live in Big Brother society. I guess you just have to accept it."

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova - and you'll struggle to find two more recognisable tennis stars on the planet - have both been caught on camera in bizarre situations where they were stopped by security and asked to show their accreditation.

"I think we have known that (cameras are everywhere), because that's been the way that - we have had a lot of cameras here for the last couple of years, warm-up areas," Sharapova said.

"They're not in the locker room, not that I know of (smiling). (We are) safe there."

Federer added: "It's not like we never have anybody taking pictures or videos of us. Now it's just like everywhere all the time. It's hard to find the corner where you can actually sort of relax a bit. But I can deal with it. It's no problem."

News Corp Australia


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