David Goffin backs decision by French Open chiefs to ban alcohol in the stands

David Goffin has backed the decision by French Open chiefs to ban spectators from drinking alcohol in the stands after a fan spat chewing gum at him.

Belgian veteran Goffin beat Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in five sets on Court 14 on Tuesday.

But afterwards he hit out at the boisterous partisan crowd, claiming one fan even spat their gum towards him.

France Tennis French Open
David Goffin said a spectator spat gum at him (Aurelien Morissard/AP)

As a result, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo announced that spectators would no longer still be allowed to drink in their seats.

“Alcohol was until now authorised in the stands. Now it’s finished, everywhere,” said Mauresmo.

After his second-round defeat by Alexander Zverev, Goffin said: “It’s funny because after my press conference two days ago, I don’t know how many people and how many players came to me and were on my side.

“I was surprised that everybody was, like, ‘OK, what you said is great, I agree’. So everybody is behind me.

France Tennis French Open No Alcohol
Spectator behaviour is in the spotlight (Thibault Camus/AP)

“Hopefully it’s good what Amelie did because if they continue like that, you never know.

“(Maybe the spectators) said ‘OK, it was fine this year. Maybe we go for it for more next year and then the year after is going even for more’.

“You never know what they’re going to (do), if they’re going to come with firecrackers.”

The issue of fan behaviour was brought into even sharper focus on Wednesday when Iga Swiatek urged the crowd to keep quiet during points after missing a volley in her match against Naomi Osaka because a spectator shouted.

Tennis – 2015 Wimbledon Championships – Day Six – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Amelie Mauresmo has told umpires to be stricter with crowds (Mike Egerton/PA)

Mauresmo also said security had been beefed up and umpires had been instructed to be stricter with the crowd during the match.

“I have personally passed the instructions to the chair umpires, who must be super reactive to all that, trying to control the court and what is happening,” she added.

“I think a lot of the umpires are very experienced. For matches that are a bit heated, we also choose referees who are experienced and fully capable of handling the match and the fans.

“If there is even the slightest behaviour that crosses the line, they will be out. Even if identifying a person is not always obvious. The energy and enthusiasm are very positive, but limits must be respected.”

The new directive was immediately apparent during Novak Djokovic’s match against Roberto Carballes Baena when umpire Nico Helwerth told one noisy spectator he would be asked to leave if he continued.

Djokovic said: “I understand that, you know, a player like Goffin the other day reacted, because I have experienced quite a few times those particular situations.

“So I support a player standing up, you know, against people who are disrespecting and heckling him. It’s not always possible, you know, to tolerate.”