Monday, September 25, 2023

Andreescu-Brengle tennis match overgrown with birds and beetles at Melbourne Park

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One of the players compared it to the Alfred Hitchcock film The birds.

And foreign observers began to lose their minds as flocks of seagulls and beetle swarms invaded a Phillip Island Trophy match between Bianca Andreescu and Madison Brengle at Melbourne Park.

The WTA event was created for players who bombed early at the Australian Open. For Andreescu and Brengle, the extra time on the court came with a nasty catch.

Their match was initially delayed, as the pitch was covered in bird droppings and needed cleaning up. But the birds were not finished. As well as continuing to defecate on the court, they were in the mad dive-bombing mood.

Brengle tried at one point to run over or chase one off, after she jumped from a giant herd in a circle over the field and flew straight in front of her face.

Andreescu had an ace robbed when another gull flew in and distracted Brengle as the service winner was delivered.

Another bird briefly stopped the game as it flew across the yard and landed in the corner, which led Brengle to exclaim, “It’s like a Hitchcock thing” – referring to the 1963 film of the master of suspense in which malicious birds invade America.

But since this is Australia, birds weren’t the only ones making their presence felt, as British media outlet The Tennis Podcast noted. The beetles also took to the field, as they sometimes did in Australian Open matches.

Brengle played the wildlife narrator again, saying, “What is that one? It’s like a pill bug … but bigger!”

Another fascinated spectator of the match was New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg, which was of course accompanied by a soundtrack of incessant screams.

“This Brengle-Andreescu match should be broadcast on Animal Planet. It was absurd,” Rothenberg wrote on Twitter, alongside a GIF of the crawling seagulls on the pitch.

“This game deserves to go viral.”

Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion who lost in the Australian Open second round after a 15-month layoff, was the final winner of the bizarre clash. Even as the pair struck snowshoes at the net, seagulls bubbled overhead.

Former Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka had a great time with a butterfly in Grand Slam opening week, when a butterfly landed on her face mid-game. She carefully took him off the field afterwards.

For Australian viewers, Andreescu vs Brengle was an extreme example of the fairly common presence of wildlife at sporting events in Melbourne. For international observers, it was really wild.

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