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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Goffin slams partisan French Open crowd

By Reuters
May 30, 2024
Belgiums David Goffin reacts during his first round match against Polands Hubert Hurkacz.— Reuters/File
 Belgium's David Goffin reacts during his first round match against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.— Reuters/File

PARIS: Belgian David Goffin accused partisan fans at the French Open of "total disrespect" and said he was spat at by a spectator during his marathon first-round victory over local favourite Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

Fans can often turn the usually quiet Roland Garros courts into a wild arena when a French player needs backing, with the resulting atmosphere unmatched at the other three majors, and Goffin was subjected to the experience on Tuesday afternoon.

On a raucous Court 14, Goffin kept his cool to defeat wild card Perricard 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3, before the former world number seven held his hand to his ears as he left the venue to loud jeers.

"When you are insulted for 3-1/2 hours, you have to tease the public a little," Goffin told Belgian media. "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.

"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." Goffin urged the organisers of the year's second Grand Slam to take action.