Cracking Down on Rowdy Tennis Fans at Roland Garros

In response to complaints about unruly behavior from tennis fans at Roland Garros, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo has implemented stricter regulations, including banning alcohol in the stands. Players like David Goffin and Iga Swiatek have voiced concerns about disrespectful spectators, prompting these changes to preserve the game's integrity and atmosphere.

Reuters | Updated: 30-05-2024 23:39 IST | Created: 30-05-2024 23:39 IST
Cracking Down on Rowdy Tennis Fans at Roland Garros
AI Generated Representative Image

After rain stopped play on the outer courts at Roland Garros early on Thursday afternoon, fans were in for more disappointment when organisers banned alcohol in the stands as unruly behaviour came under scrutiny. Belgian David Goffin had accused partisan fans at the French Open of "total disrespect" when he took on a local favourite in the first round and said one of them had spat gum at him, while Iga Swiatek urged spectators not to scream during rallies.

The comments appeared to spark tournament director Amelie Mauresmo into action and the former world number one said it was time to put a stop to the problems with drastic measures. "First of all, we're happy people are enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing feeling and emotions," Mauresmo told reporters.

"But there are definitely steps which shouldn't go further. A few things have needed to be put in place. "Alcohol was allowed until now in the stands but that's over... If they exceed the limit, if they don't behave well or if they throw things at the players, that's it."

Mauresmo said that umpires had been asked to become stricter and intervene to ensure that the players were respected, while security would step in if fans misbehaved. "Let's see how it goes with the (umpires) being a little bit more strict. Let's see how it goes with the security being also a little bit more strict," she added.

"I don't want to be negative and I'm an optimist. I'm really trying to see that people are going to react in a good way, that it's going to be okay. If it's not, we'll take other measures." Goffin said he had received plenty of support from his peers for speaking out.

"I was surprised that everybody was like 'What you said is great'. So everybody is behind me, I'm surprised. It has changed and especially the last few years. I don't know if it was after the COVID or not," Goffin said. "It's a different kind of support here. More excitement, a little bit aggressive. People come to have fun. That's for sure. Sometimes they just go for too much.

"Hopefully it's good what Amelie did because if they continue like that, you never know... if they're going to come with firecrackers." Several players reignited the larger debate about the French crowd who can sometimes make life hard for players by cheering between points, as defending champion Swiatek found out in her match against Naomi Osaka.

"It's part of what we do. It's part of sports. We're different from football or basketball but at the same time, you want a good atmosphere as a player," world number one Novak Djokovic said. "From my standpoint, I really want to see fans cheering and see that atmosphere. It's a fine line when that line is passed and when it starts becoming disrespectful towards the player.

"In those instances, I understand that a player like Goffin the other day reacted, because I have experienced quite a few times those particular situations." Russian Daniil Medvedev, who has had his fair share of feisty interactions with fans, said players would eventually get used to the noise if it was ever-present.

"Now what happens is that 95% of matches, tournaments, it's quiet. And then when suddenly you come to Roland Garros and it's not, it disturbs you. It's a Grand Slam so you get more stress and it's not easy," Medvedev said. "If you ask me, I like it quiet. Again, even when the crowd goes crazy, the other player's ready to serve, quiet and let's serve, let's play.

"There's no in-between. It either should be quiet or super loud but all the time, and then we would get used to it, I would get used to it also, and we wouldn't complain about it."

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

Give Feedback