Water bottles spark outrage at Australian Open
FOR the second year running, the Australian Open's choice of bottled water has left Aussies scratching their heads.
Fans turned out in droves to be a part of day one of the Melbourne-based grand slam on Monday, but not everybody was satisfied.
In the stands, fans were questioning why Open organisers chose to import bottled water from China.
"In what universe do we need to import bottled water?" journalist and tennis fan Rachel Baxendale wrote on Twitter.
Her comment, which featured pictures of the water labelled "Australian Open official water", was retweeted more than 500 times and received more than 250 comments.
Among those chiming in was Senator Derryn Hinch, who suggested the money was too good for organisers to refuse.
"In a universe where the deal was worth millions of dollars a year to Tennis Australia," he wrote.
The move to Ganten, a company based in Shenzhen since 1992, was downplayed by organisers last year.
In a statement, Tennis Australia said the Australian Open was a global event with "a long history of partnering with international brands".
"Ganten water is a premium brand that is associated with other major tennis and sporting events," the statement said.
"The Australian Open continues to expand its global reach and partnerships, which helps to grow the sport at all levels in Australia."
Tennis Australia did not respond to a request for comment this year.
Some commenters on social media were quick to point out that Aussies appeared to have no problem when French-based water company Evian sponsored the Open.
"The current outrage about Chinese bottled water being sold at the Australian Open is quite an amount larger than the days when Evian was the 'official water'," Preston Towers wrote on Twitter. "No prize for guessing as to why that would be."
Others suggested the Open should ditch single-use plastic bottles altogether.
"Idea for next year: Ditch the one-use plastic, provide water fountains and if people don't bring their own drink bottle make them buy one," Alexandra McKiernan wrote.
"No need to buy bottled water. BYO container and use fountains," Sarah Banks wrote.
The Australian Open counts the following international sponsors as official partners: Emirates, DeRucci, Haagen-Dazs, Lavazza, Toshiba and Piper-Heidsieck.