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Tennis in Paris: Stronger crackdown on troublemakers at French Open

Tennis in Paris: Stronger crackdown on troublemakers at French Open

Heckling is not uncommon at the Grand Slam tournament in Paris. This year, one of Zverev’s opponents even had a piece of chewing gum thrown at him. The players complain, the organizers react.

Tournament director Amélie Mauresmo has announced that she will take tougher action against troublemakers at the French Open following several player complaints. “We will be uncompromising with regard to respect for the players and the game,” said the former world-class player at a media roundtable, where she also revealed the first consequences.

For example, she instructed the referees to be even more sensitive to the issue and to ensure that fans who misbehave are thrown out. “If there is even the slightest behavior that crosses the line, they will be thrown out,” stressed Mauresmo. In addition, alcohol will now be strictly banned in the stands.

The players defend themselves

Immediately after her second-round thriller against Japan’s Naomi Osaka, world number one Iga Swiatek addressed the predominantly French audience on Court Philippe Chatrier and criticized the heckling. It is “very difficult to stay focused,” the Pole said in an interview on the court, “when you shout something during the rally or just before the return.”

Belgian David Goffin, Olympic champion Alexander Zverev’s opponent in the second round, revealed after his opening win against Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard that a fan had spat at him with a piece of chewing gum. “It’s becoming more and more like football. Soon we’ll have pyrotechnics and hooligans, soon they’ll be fighting in the stands. It’s really ridiculous,” complained Goffin: “Some people would rather cause trouble than cheer on the players.”

Kerber also affected

Three-time Grand Slam tournament winner Angelique Kerber was also affected. During her first-round exit against the Dutch player Arantxa Rus, the Kiel native was interrupted by a shout when she was on set point and complained to the chair umpire.

“This is serious for us. We fight our whole lives to get better and better,” said Swiatek. She hopes “that you still like me,” said Swiatek to the audience, because French fans can sometimes “pick out players they don’t like and then boo them. But I love you and I always love playing here. So let’s keep doing that.” These statements were met with mainly applause from the stands.

Source: Stern

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