Not-So-Hidden Cameras Take Australian Open Viewers on an Intimate Tour

MELBOURNE, Australia — After shedding an in depth third-round match to Sloane Stephens on the Australian Open final week, Petra Martic saved her feelings in verify as she walked off the court docket of Margaret Court Arena. But as soon as she was out of sight of the gang, within the tunnel connecting the world to the locker room, she may not disguise her misery. She stepped right into a nook, sunk down towards a cinder-block wall and broke down in heaving sobs as she lined her face with a towel.

But she was not hidden in any respect. She was captured by one of many quite a few cameras positioned all through the corridors of the Australian Open.

“It’s just heartbreaking to watch,” ESPN’s Chris McKendry mentioned on the printed after the digital camera zoomed in for a tighter view of Martic’s distress.

The Australian Open, probably the most distant Grand Slam occasion, is providing voyeurism with out the voyage in a method no different event does. Players and their entourages are sometimes unaware what number of of their actions are monitored and magnified by cameras that comply with them as lengthy and as intently as attainable.

Tiley said that there were “strict protocols about what could be shown, but that players were not all explicitly warned about the cameras or told to sign waivers agreeing to be shown at any time. The high-definition cameras are in areas otherwise off-limits to the public and, this year for the first time, to accredited news media.

“The cameras are round and black and hang down from the ceiling,” Tiley said. “They are very easy to see, and we have had dozens and dozens of players and coaches playing up to them.”

There are areas the cameras do not show, including the players’ restaurant and gym.

“They’re not in the locker room, not that I know of,” Maria Sharapova said, smiling. “Safe there.”

But many players and coaches did not realize the scope of the surveillance. Serena Williams, who starred in her own HBO reality show, “Being Serena,” and even gave birth on camera, said she initially did not notice how many cameras were tracking her at the tournament until she heard other players talking about them and began to look around.

“Then I was, like, ‘Oh, there is a camera there; oh, there is one there,’ ” Williams said. “They are everywhere, which I actually didn’t realize. Good to know.”

Naomi Osaka also underestimated the number of cameras watching her, thinking there was only one. “I guess I will be very conscious,” she said.

Sure enough, before her next match, she could be seen looking for as many cameras as she could spot, laughing as she found one after another.

“There is the incredible camaraderie among players and coaches and the tennis community,” Tiley said. “It is a community and an environment that we try to capture respectably and appropriately.”

For superstars like Federer, who has photographs taken of him with and without his permission whenever he is in public, the cameras at the Australian Open were simply an extension of a creeping loss of privacy.

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