MELBOURNE, Australia -- Official Australian Open sponsor Vegemite has taken a swipe at five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.
In the wake of Sharapova's fourth-round loss to Australian 15th seed Ash Barty, the iconic spread erected a billboard in Melbourne with the words "tastes like: Quiet please, Maria."
Tastes like: quiet please, Maria 😉 Make some noise for @Ashbar96 👏🎾🇦🇺 #TastesLikeAustralia #BartyArmy #AusOpen #VEGEMITEBallkids #BartyParty #Ashbarty @wwos @heraldsun_sport @channel9 pic.twitter.com/IDHJ3Ygzze— Vegemite (@Vegemite) January 20, 2019
Sharapova was booed off Rod Laver Arena after falling to Barty in three sets. Locals were less than impressed with the Russian's trademark shrieking, as well as the fact she took a seven-minute bathroom break after dropping the second set.
Vegemite has been active with its advertising campaigns around this year's Australian Open. In addition to signage around Melbourne Park and billboards in the city, Vegemite has been the official sponsor of Barty and the 22-year-old's cheer squad which appeared at all of her matches in Melbourne.
Earlier in the tournament, Vegemite had another billboard on display in the same spot, albeit much tamer.
Tastes like: chucking a sickie to go to the tennis 😉 Don't miss out on all the action at the @AustralianOpen today! The #VEGEMITE #BartyArmy will be there in full force getting behind @ashbar96 in her third round match! 👏🎾🇦🇺 #TastesLikeAustralia #AusOpen #VEGEMITEBallkids pic.twitter.com/jhYZ678TKm— Vegemite (@Vegemite) January 17, 2019
Vegemite hasn't been the only sponsor to draw attention to itself this past fortnight. Naomi Osaka, who will play Petra Kvitova in Saturday's final, whacked her own sponsor Nissin for producing an insensitive advertisement which featured the Japanese star in "whitewashed" skin.
Nissin has since apologized for the campaign.