World No 1 Iga Swiatek calls out French Open crowd after thrilling win over Naomi Osaka

Iga Swiatek defeated Naomi Osaka in a three-set epic  (Getty Images)
Iga Swiatek defeated Naomi Osaka in a three-set epic (Getty Images)

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.

Swiatek saved match point on her way to denying an inspired Osaka her biggest win since returning to the sport, as the 22-year-old fought from behind in the deciding set to win a 7-6 1-6 7-5 thriller.

The match was an instant classic but when speaking to former World No 2 Alex Corretja afterwards in her on-court interview, 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.”

While Swiatek’s only made reference to the crowd making noise during points, the World No 1’s comments came after the behaviour of the French Open fans come under renewed focus.

On Tuesday, Belgian player David Goffin claimed he was “spat” at by a fan as he accused crowds at the French Open of “total disrespect” during his first-round victory over the local favourite Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

Goffin, the former World No 7, triumphed over his French opponent in a marathon five-set match on Tuesday, which was played out in front of a raucous atmosphere on Court 14.

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. "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 said the atmosphere at the French Open is unlike any of the other grand slams and urged tournament organisers to take action.

"A lot of people are complaining, a lot of umpires feel that there is a lot of disrespect," Goffin continued. "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."