Australian Open: Referee chases fan who stole towel in Melbourne

Watch the moment a tennis referee turns into a security guard as official chases follow a spectator who stole a towel at the Australian Open

  • A tennis referee has acted as a security guard at the Australian Open
  • A tennis star had her towel stolen after their first-round clash
  • James Keothavong jumped up from his chair to chase the alleged thief

A tennis referee acted as a security guard at the Australian Open after chasing after a fan who appeared to have stolen a towel from one of the players.

Following Rebecca Marino’s first-round loss to Lin Zhu – in which she lost 6-2, 6-4 – chaos ensued when Marino realized a spectator had stolen a towel while they were hugging at the net.

“Someone just took a towel,” Marino tells referee James Keothavong, who then yells “oi!” before leaping from his seat and storming out of the court.

A tennis referee has acted as a security guard after a towel was stolen on Tuesday

A tennis referee has acted as a security guard after a towel was stolen on Tuesday

It is unclear whether the officer caught the alleged thief.

Lin meets Jill Teichmann in the next round after the Swiss tennis player defeated Britain’s Harriet Dart in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Andy Murray turned back the years with a stellar performance to beat Matteo Berrettini in five sets.

The Rod Laver Arena, where he lost five finals in Melbourne, celebrated the 35-year-old Scot after keeping his nerve to beat the 2021 Wimbledon finalist 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-6 7 to defeat 7-6 in four hours and 49 minutes.

Rebecca Marino spotted a spectator taking a towel after her loss in the first round of the Australian Open

Rebecca Marino spotted a spectator taking a towel after her loss in the first round of the Australian Open

James Keothavong jumped out of his chair and ran out of court to chase the alleged thief

James Keothavong jumped out of his chair and ran out of court to chase the alleged thief

The Italian was the dominating player in the last three sets but Murray kept his nerve in the champions’ sudden death tiebreak to win 10-6. He will play Fabio Fognini or Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.

This was Murray’s best performance in a Grand Slam since the onset of his hip problems, which now see a lump of metal in the affected area. He was always ahead in the tie-break and took a 5-0 lead.

Berrettini, powered by 31 aces, got back at him to make it 8-6 but Murray held on again and clinched it with a somewhat lucky net line.

“I’ll feel it tonight, but I’m incredibly proud and happy. It’s the first time I’ve played a first-to-ten tiebreak. He came back very strong and I got a bit lucky at the end,” Murray said. “He served brilliantly and is a great competitor so I did well to get through.

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Maureen Mackey

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