French Open bans alcohol from stands after spitting incident

French Open chiefs are cracking down on rowdy behaviour in the stands  (Getty Images)
French Open chiefs are cracking down on rowdy behaviour in the stands (Getty Images)

The French Open has banned fans from drinking alcohol in the stands after Belgian player David Goffin claimed he was spat on by a spectator and complained of a “football” atmosphere on Tuesday.

Goffin accused French Open crowds of “total disrespect” during his five-set win over home favourite Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard and alleged that a fan spat chewing gum at him.

Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said stadium security would be increased, while umpires have been told to be stricter when they crack down on unruly behaviour in the stands.

While a search for the fan who spat at Goffin is ongoing, Mauresmo confirmed that spectators will no longer be allowed to drink in their seats - including on the infamously raucous Court 14.

"Alcohol was until now authorised in the stands. Now it’s over," Mauresmo said in a press conference. "The umpires are really going to be even more strict to further respect to the players and respect the game.

"This is something that we’re not going to tolerate, to overstep these two things. That’s for sure. So umpires have quite an important role in this matter.

"And definitely in terms of security, we’re going to try to see which people is maybe making (trouble), because I think it’s a few individuals at some point that are overstepping."

Frenchman Mpetshi Perricard, the 20-year-old wildcard, had the full support of the home crowd but Goffin said fans went “too far”. The 33-year-old Goffin was jeered as he left the court after his win, as he held his hand to his ear.

“When you are insulted for three, three and a half hours, you have to tease the public a little,” Goffin told Belgian media, as reported by Reuters. “Clearly, it goes too far, it’s total disrespect.

“It’s really too much. It’s becoming football, soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and fights in the stands. It’s starting to become ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create an atmosphere.

Belgium’s David Goffin reacts to the French Open spectators after victory (AFP via Getty Images)
Belgium’s David Goffin reacts to the French Open spectators after victory (AFP via Getty Images)

“Someone spat out their chewing gum at me. It (the match) was getting complicated. That’s why I wanted to stay calm. If I started to get angry about it, it could have destabilised me.”

On Wednesday evening, World No 1 and defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek called out fans for making noise during points after surviving an epic three-set battle against fellow four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka.

The match was an instant classic but during her on-court interview on Philippe-Chatrier, Swiatek referenced a shot she had missed earlier in the third set when a member of the crowd screamed out as she prepared to hit a drive volley.

Unprompted, Swiatek said: “I am sorry to bring this up. I have huge respect for you guys and I know we are playing for you. This is entertainment and we are also making money because of you.

“But sometimes under a lot of pressure when you scream something during the rally or right before the return, it’s really, really hard to be focused. I usually don’t bring this up because I want to be this kind of player that is in the zone and really focused.

“This is serious for us, we are fighting our whole lives to be better and better. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that. The stakes are big. There is a lot of money to win. The few points may change a lot.

“So please guys, if you can support us between the rallies not during that would be really, really amazing. I hope you are still going to like me because the French crowd might get some players that they don’t like and boo. I love you guys. I love playing here - let’s continue that.”