French Open fans hit with alcohol ban after gum-spitting accusation

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French Open fans hit with alcohol ban after gum-spitting accusation

The French Open has banned alcohol from the stands in a bid to clamp down on fan behaviour at Roland Garros.

The first week of the tournament has seen a raucous atmosphere and there was an incident on Wednesday when Belgian David Goffin claimed a spectator spat chewing gum at him during his five sets victory over France’s Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

On the same day, world No 1 Iga Swiatek asked fans to be quiet during points in her thrilling win against Naomi Osaka.

Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo also said security would be improved and umpires will be instructed to be stricter with the crowd during the match.

“Alcohol was until now authorised in the stands. Now it’s over,” said Mauresmo. “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 are maybe making (trouble), because I think it’s a few individuals at some point that are overstepping.”

Mauresmo said the person who allegedly spat gum at Goffin had not been identified and that no spectators had been ejected from the tournament so far.

She added: “We tried to gather information yesterday on what happened and how we can do things – so these new rules are from this morning. So we’ll see how it goes.”

David Goffin (Getty Images)

Image: David Goffin says a lot of people have complained about fan behaviour at the French Open

Goffin: A lot of people are complaining

Fan noise is nothing new in tennis as players generally have issues with shouting in between serves or just before a serve.

However, Goffin – a veteran of the sport – feels it’s gone too far and is “starting to become ridiculous”.

“A lot of people are complaining. A lot of umpires feel that there is a lot of disrespect,” he added.

“This is repeated a lot in the locker room and among the ATP authorities. We’re going to have to do something about that.

“I think it only happens in France. At Wimbledon, obviously, there’s not that. Or in Australia either. At the US Open, it’s still rather quiet. Here, it’s a really unhealthy atmosphere.”

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