Sabalenka & Djokovic Shine Amid French Open's Alcohol Ban

Aryna Sabalenka and Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round of the French Open, overcoming weather disruptions and a new alcohol ban in the stands. Tournament officials imposed the ban to curb unruly fan behavior, while top players benefited from playing under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier.


Reuters | Updated: 30-05-2024 22:44 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 22:44 IST
Sabalenka & Djokovic Shine Amid French Open's Alcohol Ban
Aryna Sabalenka

Aryna Sabalenka and Novak Djokovic soared into the third round of the French Open on Thursday as tournament organisers stepped up their fight against unruly fans by announcing an alcohol ban in the stands while also dealing with the wet-weather backlog.

Playing under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier even as Roland Garros officials were scratching their heads over what to do with the schedule after a fifth straight rain-hit day, second seed Sabalenka blew away qualifier Moyuka Uchijima 6-2 6-2. "That's the little advantage we get as top players because we play in big stadiums with the roof," Sabalenka said.

"So I knew that no matter what the weather is going to be, I'm going to play my match. That's really helpful." Defending champion Djokovic then outclassed Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-1 6-2, while seeds Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, Elena Rybakina and Elina Svitolina all went through unaffected by conditions due to overhead cover.

The story was vastly different on the outer courts where the action got into full swing only late in the afternoon with the backlog from Wednesday's washout adding to the woes of players and officials. Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova overcame American Katie Volynets 0-6 6-1 6-4 in one of those matches while 11th seed Danielle Collins fell to Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic 6-7(3) 7-5 6-4 after dealing with a neck issue.

Play will begin early on Friday to ease pressure on the packed schedule. With spirits already dampened on a soggy day, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo banned the consumption of wine and beer in the stands to control spectators after Belgian David Goffin had accused one fan of spitting gum at him two days ago.

Holder Iga Swiatek had also urged supporters not to scream during rallies, especially in high-pressure contests, after the Pole beat Naomi Osaka on Wednesday. "First of all, we're happy people are very enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing feeling and emotions," said Mauresmo.

"But there are definitely steps which shouldn't go further. A few things have needed to be put in place. Alcohol was allowed up until now in the stands but that's over." Security will be deployed to ensure fans follow rules and respect players while umpires have been asked to be stricter, with more measures likely if the situation does not improve.

All eyes will now be on the evening-session match when Frenchman Gael Monfils takes on Lorenzo Musetti, seeking a 40th win in the tournament to go level with Yannick Noah for the most Roland Garros victories by a local player in the Open era.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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