‘Spat at me’: French Open bans booze as fan behaviour gets out of control

Fans at the French Open are banned from drinking alcohol in the stands, as organizers attempt to crack down on a series of inappropriate incidents during the first week of the Grand Slam.

World number one players in men’s and women’s tennis, Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek, have complained about fan behaviour, while Belgian world number 115 David Goffin claimed that “someone spat their chewing gum on me” during his first-round match.

Watch selected NRL and AFL games plus every F1 race live in 4K on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today

Goffin was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by world number four Alexander Zverev, but made the accusation during his five-set thriller against Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

The 33-year-old insulted the local fans before calling for action.

“When you are insulted for three and a half hours, you have to annoy the audience a little,” Goffin told Belgian media.

“This is clearly going too far, this is total disrespect. This is really too much. This is becoming football. Soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and fights in the stands. This is becoming ridiculous. Some people are there to cause trouble rather than to create a good atmosphere.

“Someone spit their gum at me. (The game) was getting complicated. That’s why I wanted to stay calm. If I had started getting upset about it, it could have destabilized me.”

Goffin later added: “A lot of people are complaining. A lot of referees feel there is a lot of disrespect.”

“This is repeated again and again in the locker room and by the ATP officials. We have to do something about it.”

“I think this only happens in France. It doesn’t happen at Wimbledon, of course. And it doesn’t happen in Australia either. The US Open is still pretty quiet. There’s a really unhealthy atmosphere here.”

This is probably good news for the organisers of the Australian Open, after there were accusations against fans of being too loud at previous editions of the season’s opening Grand Slam tournament.

The organizers of the French Open have taken note of the complaints and have taken tough action by banning alcohol in the stadiums.

Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo announced the news, adding that measures would be taken to root out troublemakers.

“Until now, alcohol was allowed in the stadiums, but that is over,” Mauresmo told reporters.

“We are happy about the atmosphere, the emotions and the spectators. However, we will not compromise on the players and the game,” said Mauresmo.

“If the targets are exceeded even in the slightest, we will have to leave.”

Goffin was not alone in his criticism; Swiatek rebuked the crowd after her stunning victory over Naomi Osaka in the second round.

Swiatek eventually won the match 7:6, 1:6, 7:5, but had to overcome a 2:5 deficit in the last set.

But as Swiatek was fighting for her life in the middle of the match, a fan shouted loudly, which made the Polish world number 1 so angry that she confronted the crowd after the match – albeit quite politely.

“Sometimes it is very distracting and difficult to concentrate when you are under a lot of pressure and shouting something during a rally,” Swiatek said after the match in a speech to fans on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“This is a serious matter for us and sometimes it is difficult to accept that. There is a lot at stake and we are playing for a lot of money. If you could support us before the rallies, but not during them.

“I love you guys and I always enjoy playing here, so let’s keep it up.”

But not all players have a problem with the audience.

Former world number two Paula Badosa reacted sharply to Swiatek’s complaints, especially when the world number one plays on the best courts.

Swiatek has not played on any court other than Philippe Chatrier or Suzanne Lenglen since her second-round match at the 2021 French Open.

“I don’t think she can complain because I played on Court 8 and 9 and you can hear everything there,” said world number 139 Badosa, who will face second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the third round.

“For example, I can hear Suzanne Lenglen, Philippe Chatrier, Court 6, 7 during the points. I think she is very lucky that she can play on Philippe Chatrier all the time and that is fine with her.

“But that doesn’t bother me. Like I said, I’ve been playing on small courts lately and I’ve heard so much noise. At this moment I’m so focused on myself and my game that it doesn’t really bother me.”

However, Swiatek was far from alone.

Even Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis attacked the fans during his three-hour, 45-minute, 1-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-2 second-round victory over Giulio Zeppieri.

With the score at 5-5 in the fourth set tiebreak, Kokkinakis was furious with an Italian fan who booed him as he prepared to serve his second serve.

As Kokkinakis won the point after his rival hit a smash into the net, the Australian turned to the crowd and said: “Who the hell hissed when I served? Which one of you wankers did that?”

Kokkinakis then asked the referee to intervene, “or I will have to take matters into my own hands.”

Watch the incident in the video player above.

While Djokovic had an easier time than Swiatek in his second round, winning 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 against Roberto Carballes Baena, the Serbian superstar was annoyed by a heckling fan who shouted “out” while he was chasing a stop ball in the first set.

He also complained to the referee when he claimed obstruction, which earned him boos and jeers from the crowd.

Djokovic announced after the match that the fan was sitting in the front row and screaming throughout the match.

“That’s part of what we do, you know. That’s part of the sport. We’re different from football or basketball, but at the same time, as a player, you want a good atmosphere,” Djokovic said.

“I guess it’s a fine line when that line is crossed and it starts to become disrespectful to the player.

“That’s why I support it when a player defends himself against people who treat him disrespectfully and boo him. That is not always tolerable.”

Daniil Medvedev expressed understanding for Swiatek’s frustration at being distracted by the crowd at crucial moments, pointing out that there is only a fine line between victory and defeat.

“If someone shouts in your ear while you’re serving, you might make a double fault. It’s that simple. That’s not good,” Medvedev said.

“95 percent of the matches and tournaments are quiet. And when you suddenly come to Roland Garros and it’s not quiet, it bothers you. And it’s a Grand Slam, so you get even more stressed and it’s not easy.

“There is nothing in between. It should either be quiet or super loud, but always, and then we would get used to it, I would get used to it too, and we wouldn’t really complain about it.”

After his loss to Zverev, Goffin also announced that his teammates had pledged their support after he attacked the fans.

“I don’t know how many people and how many players came to me and were on my side,” Goffin said.

“I was surprised that everyone said, ‘Okay, what you said is great, what you said to the press is great, I agree.’ Everyone is behind me, so I’m really surprised.”

Sebastian Korda, who is waiting for Carlos Alcaraz in the round of 32, wants the fans to have fun, but within reasonable limits.

“I played in Australia on one of their brand new courses that had a bar next to it. It was not a nice experience,” he said.

“I think they should do what they want, but hopefully not be too loud.”

Read related topics:Melbourne

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL