French Open calls time on unruly fans after ‘hooligans’ warning

French Open officials have banned alcohol in the stands and vowed to evict troublemakers as the unruly behaviour of fans comes once more under scrutiny. But for many at Roland Garros, raucous crowds and feverish home support are what make the Paris slam special.

Tucked away in a corner of the French Open grounds, Court 14 has developed a fearsome reputation since its launch six years ago – beloved of French players and often dreaded by those who take them on.

The 2,200-seater venue has been dubbed the “cauldron” owing to its sunken shape and heated atmosphere, particularly when a home favourite is on court – or one the French have come to adopt as their own.

On Friday, that honour fell to a Belgian player ranked No 104 in the world, whose first name Zizou – inspired by the French football legend Zinedine Zidane – has made him a darling of the Roland Garros crowd.

For players on the other side of the net, however, Court 14 can be an unsettling and bruising experience.

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov enjoyed every bit of his opening-round win over France’s Luca Van Assche earlier this week, complete with brass band playing, trumpets blaring and raucous crowd cheering his every error. But David Goffin of Belgium, who took on another Frenchman on the court later in the day, was not amused.

The mild-mannered Belgian cupped his ears as he left the venue to loud jeers after prevailing in a gruelling five-set battle with French youngster Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, throughout which he was taunted by the crowd.

The French Open has form when it comes to rowdiness in the stands.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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