Mel Jones said what plenty were thinking about Tom Cruise’s cameo at Ash Barty’s Wimbledon triumph on the weekend.
The former Australian cricketer was in the crowd for Barty’s final against Karolina Pliskova at the All England Club donning an “Always Was, Always Will Be” Indigenous shirt.
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Images of Jones circulated around social media, including footage of Barty pointing at the Fox Cricket commentator as the Queenslander left the venue holding the Rosewater Dish.
Isa Guha with Mel Jones.Source:Twitter
Speaking to Fox Sports’ The Back Page on Tuesday evening, an emotional Jones recounted the momentous occasion, in which Barty became the first Australian woman to win a Wimbledon title since mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley achieved the feat in 1980.
“It was a magical moment for so many reasons,” Jones said. “The largest cheer was when Pliskova won the second set. If the roof was on, it would have been off, because they just wanted to see that contest happen.
“Being up close and personal to see the skill set of these amazing athletes was something very special.”
When Jones was shown footage of her anxiously covering her mouth from the stands, she couldn’t resist taking a cheeky dig at Cruise, who had been showboating with the crowd throughout the match.
“I think that was me just covering my mouth saying, ‘Tom Cruise, sit down. It’s not about you’,” Jones joked.
Take a bow, @TomCruise#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/MpT7FlvEIf
The presence of the Hollywood icon, who was joined by Mission Impossible: 7 co-stars Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff, didn’t sit well with everyone.
Tennis fans turned their fury on the 59-year-old for hogging the spotlight – and broadcasters and the official Wimbledon social media accounts for pointing it at him.
Cruise appeared to be lapping up the attention as he stood and waved to the crowd and posed for photographs with fans.
Aboriginal activist Professor Megan Davis led the frustration pouring out on social media as Barty was put in the shade.
“I’m surprised the official Wimbledon account noticed Ash won cos they seem to be obsessed with Tom Cruise,” she tweeted.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Latika M Burke chimed in: “OMG tom cruise it’s really not about you.”
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Tom Cruise watches the Ladies’ Singles Final match.Source:Getty Images
Tom Cruise poses for a selfie with a young fan.Source:AFP
Jones wrote about her Indigenous top on The Guardian: “I love it because it starts a conversation, gets a smile and a nod. It’s my comfort top when I’m missing home or want to show my identity – not as an Indigenous person, but as a person with a heritage that can relate in some ways to lived experiences.
“Yet I had a pang of nervousness about wearing the T-shirt to Centre Court at Wimbledon on women’s final day, and the response it might evoke.
“But visibility matters and the T-shirt was going to SW19. What I didn’t realise was just how visible it would be – it turns out my seat was in the direct line of the service camera.”
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