New Zealand tennis crowds are far too sporting.

They need to be more parochial and give more support to local players - otherwise what is the point of home advantage?

Kiwis have always prided themselves on a sense of fair play, but the fans at Stanley Street have taken it too far at the ASB Classic.

There has been a distinct lack of nationalism and passion from the stands when locals have been on the court over the last two weeks.


The match between Michael Venus and Feliciano Lopez on Monday was a prime example. Venus was a massive underdog, facing the world No 28.

But he played superbly, one of the best performances by a Kiwi on centre court over the last decade.

It was an extremely close match - decided by a couple of points - and in those situations the crowd can help to tilt the balance. That never looked like happening on Monday.

Indeed, across his 15 year professional career it's doubtful that Lopez has ever played in front of a more supportive crowd when facing a home town player.

It was a similar situation when Jade Lewis faced Venus Williams, or in Finn Tearney's first round match on Monday.

The crowd cheered Lopez's good shots on Monday, even applauding his booming aces, as they screamed past Venus, often at head height.

What was going on there? It was like being in Alicante or Barcelona, rather than Auckland.

At times Lopez was getting frustrated with his play, and surely it was up to the Auckland crowd to make him feel more uncomfortable. Maybe not to the point that can happen in Davis Cup, especially in South America or parts of Europe, where they cheer double faults by the opposition, but certainly so Lopez feels that the stadium is against him.

That's part of sport, and nothing less than he would expect. But it never really happened, although late in the third set the volume of noise behind Venus did increase.

Maybe those attending didn't realise how big an opportunity and challenge it was for Venus or were simply indifferent. Or maybe Aucklanders have become so focussed with making visiting players feel welcome, we forget to put that on hold when locals have their rare days on court?

Whatever the reason, it needs to change.