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

French Open fans have been banned from drinking alcohol in the stands as organizers try to curb a spate of inappropriate incidents in the first week of the Grand Slam tournament.

Men’s and women’s world No.1s Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek complained about the behavior of the fans, while Belgian No. 115 David Goffin claimed “someone spat chewing gum at me” during his first-round match.

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World number four Alexander Zverev knocked Goffin out of the tournament in straight sets, but he blamed it during his five-set thriller against France’s Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

The 33-year-old lashed out at local fans before calling for action.

“When they insult you for three and a half hours, you have to tease the public a bit,” Goffin told Belgian media.

“Clearly it’s going too far, it’s completely disrespectful. It’s really too much. It’s football. Soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and fights in the stands. It’s starting to get ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create atmosphere.

“Someone spat their chewing gum at me. (The match) got complicated. So I wanted to stay calm. If I started to get angry about it, it could destabilize me.”

Goffin later added: “A lot of people complain. A lot of judges think there’s a lot of disrespect.

“This is often repeated in the locker room and among the management of the ATP. We will have to do something about it.

“I think it only happens in France. It doesn’t happen in Wimbledon, obviously. Or even in Australia. It’s still pretty quiet at the US Open. It’s a really unhealthy atmosphere here.”

It’s probably a good thing for Australian Open organizers to hear after complaints from fans who got too fired up about previous performances of the season’s opening Grand Slam.

And the organizers of the French Open heard the complaints and suppressed them by banning alcohol in the stadiums.

Tournament Director Amelie Mauresmo announced the news and added that measures will be taken to eliminate the troublemakers.

“Alcohol was allowed in the stadiums until now, but that’s over,” Mauresmo told reporters.

“We are glad that there is an atmosphere, emotions and that the spectators are present. But we will be uncompromising about the players and the game,” said Mauresmo.

“If there’s the slightest bit of behavior that crosses the line, that’s going to be the way out.”

Goffin was not alone in his criticism as Swiatekova berated the crowd after her stunning second-round win over Naomi Osaka.

Swiatek eventually won the match 7-6 1-6 7-5 but had to fight back from 5-2 down in the final set.

But the screams of the fans in midfield as Swiatek fought to stay in the match left the Polish world number one furious enough to call the crowd out – albeit quite politely – after the match.

“Sometimes under a lot of pressure, when you shout something during a rally, it’s very distracting and it’s hard to concentrate,” Swiatek said as he addressed the fans at the Philippe Chatrier court after the match.

“This is serious for us and sometimes hard to accept. The stakes are high 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 love playing here, so let’s keep it up.”

The world's number one player scolds the spectators at the French Open in a polite speech

But not all players have a problem with crowds.

Former world No. 2 Paula Badosa bristled at Swiatek’s complaints, especially when the world No. 1 is on the best courts.

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

“I don’t think she can complain because I played on courts 8 and 9 and you can hear everything,” said world No. 139 Badosa, who will face second seed Aryna Sabalenko in the third round.

“For example, between points I hear Suzanne Lenglen, Philippe Chatrier, court 6, 7. I think she’s very lucky to be able to play on Philippe Chatrier all the time, and that’s fine with her.

“But I don’t mind. Like I said, I was playing in small courts these days and I heard so much noise. At that moment, I’m so focused on myself and my match that it doesn’t really bother me.”

Swiatek, however, was far from alone.

Even Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis sent fans into a frenzy in his three hour and 45 minute 1-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-2 second round win over Giulio Zeppieri.

At 5-all in the fourth-set tie, Kokkinakis was left fuming at an Italian fan who began hissing at him as he prepared to serve second.

As Kokkinakis won a point after his opponent hit the net, the Australian turned to the crowd and said: “Who the hell was hissing when I was serving? Which of you used to do that?”

Kokkinakis then asked the judge to take action “or I have to take action into my own hands”.

Watch the event in the video player above.

While Djokovic found it much easier than Swiatek in his 6-4 6-1 6-2 second-round thrashing of Roberto Carballes Baena, the Serbian superstar was left frustrated by a fan’s banter after a person called ” out” while chasing the fall. shot in the first set.

He also complained to the referee, prompting boos and jeers from the crowd as he called for a handout.

Djokovic revealed after the match that he was a fan in the front row and that he was screaming throughout the match.

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

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

“That’s why I support a player who stands up to people who disrespect and abuse him. This cannot always be tolerated.”

Daniil Medvedev sympathized with Swiatek’s frustration at being distracted by the crowd at key moments and highlighted the small differences between victory and defeat.

“If someone yells in your ear, your serve, you can double fault. It’s that simple. This is not good,” Medvedev said.

“Now it happens that 95 percent of matches, tournaments, are silent. And then suddenly you come to Roland Garros and he’s not there, it bothers you, and it’s a Grand Slam, so you’re more stressed and it’s not easy.

“There is no in between. It would have to be quiet or very loud, but all the time, and then you would get used to it, and I would get used to it, and you wouldn’t really complain about it.’

Goffin also revealed after his defeat to Zverev that his colleagues supported him 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 told the press is great, I agree. So everyone is behind me, so I’m really surprised.”

Sebastian Korda, who awaits Carlos Alcaraz in the 12 finals, wants the fans to enjoy themselves, but within reasonable limits.

“In Australia I played on one of their brand new pitches which has a bar right next to it. It was not a fun experience,” he said.

“I think they should do what they want, but I hope they don’t get too upset.”

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