Reporter banned from French Open over shock press conference act

Alexander Zverev, pictured here during his post-match press conference.
The reporter asked a question from the supermarket during Alexander Zverev's post-match press conference. Image: Roland Garros

The furore surrounding press conferences at the French Open took another extraordinary twist on Wednesday when a reporter was temporarily banned for asking a question from a supermarket.

Player press conferences have been under the spotlight this week after Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal from the French Open following backlash over her decision to boycott them.

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Organisers put the hammer down on a reporter on Wednesday when they asked a question from a supermarket.

Press conferences at this year's French Open are being held digitally and most of the accredited reporters are not on site.

One reporter, who is known for his left-field questions, said he was "actually at the supermarket" when he was given his chance to speak to Alexander Zverev.

It was apparently a "step too far" for organisers, who confirmed that the reporter's credentials had been revoked for that reason.

However French Open officials later announced that he was getting his accreditation back after apologising.

Asked about the incident after his second-round match on Tuesday, Zverev said: "He is a very nice guy. I hope he gets his media pass back.

"I don't want to be the reason why he lost his media pass.

"I think he did it more as a joke. But the other way around, I also do jokes sometimes that are taken the wrong way."

Zverev appeared to be referencing a cheeky comment he made about Osaka before his first-round match, which was widely condemned by fans.

Walking onto the court for the coin toss before his win over Oscar Otte, Zverev was informed by chair umpire Louise Azemar Engzell that he was late.

“You know how Naomi said you could fine her for every single match she is not at the press conference?" he responded.

“You can fine me for every single match I’m late.”

Alexander Zverev, pictured here after his win over Roman Safiullin at the French Open.
Alexander Zverev celebrates his victory over Roman Safiullin at the French Open. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Zverev and Tsitipas advance to third round

Sixth seed Zverev had to come from two sets down in his opening-round match but managed to keep it to three sets this time, beating qualifier Roman Safiullin 7-6 (4) 6-3 7-6 (1).

"First week you play against guys, some of them play first, second, third time of a grand slam," Zverev told reporters.

"They're very motivated. They're excited to play on the big courts, like I thought today.

"I think he played a fantastic match. I'm happy to be through in three sets. The match definitely wasn't easy."

And Stefanos Tsitsipas is yet to drop a set at the French Open, but the fifth seed is looking to up his game when he takes on towering John Isner in the third round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here in action against Pedro Martinez at the French Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas in action against Pedro Martinez at the French Open. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)

The fifth seed is seen as the biggest danger to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic after a brilliant 2021 so far, and he followed up victory over Jeremy Chardy with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 success against Spaniard Pedro Martinez.

But Tsitsipas was left frustrated by his performance, saying: "I felt like I had better days at the French Open, so I would love to see myself play a little bit better next time."

He has won his last three meetings with Isner but the pair have never met on clay and Isner, who defeated Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (6) 6-1 7-6 (5) is thoroughly enjoying the warm, dry conditions.

with agencies

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