French Open brings in alcohol ban to stop unruly fans

Fans watch the 2024 French Open in Court Philippe Chatrier
Fans have previously been allowed to drink alcohol in the stands [Getty Images]

The French Open has stopped fans drinking alcohol in the stands in a bid to end unruly behaviour, says tournament director Amelie Mauresmo.

It comes after Belgium's David Goffin had chewing gum spat at him during a match against France's Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

On Wednesday, women's defending champion Iga Swiatek pleaded with fans to keep quiet during points and not to shout out.

"First of all, we are happy people are very enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing feeling and emotions," said Mauresmo.

"But there are definitely steps which shouldn't go further. A few things have needed to be put in place."

She added: "Alcohol has been allowed up until now in the stands - but that's over."

While alcohol will be banned in the stands, it will continue to be available on the concourses and around the grounds.

As well as the booze ban in the stands, Mauresmo said chair umpires will be stricter in asking for respect "to the players and to the game".

Security measures have been increased and offenders will be identified and warned in a bid to calm them down.

"Overstepping these two things is not something we will tolerate," said former world number one Mauresmo.

"I'm an optimist and I think people will react in a good way. If not we will take more measures."

How have the players reacted?

The behaviour of some fans continued to be a hot topic on Thursday, with most players asked about the incidents involving Goffin and Swiatek.

Goffin welcomed Mauresmo's intervention, saying he thought it would stop things escalating in coming years.

"OK, it was fine this year. Maybe [fans think] we go for it for more next year and then the year after is even more. You never know if they're going to come with firecrackers," said the Belgian.

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic believes players want a "good atmosphere" as long as a "fine line" is not crossed.

"I understand a player like Goffin the other day reacting, because I have experienced quite a few times those particular situations," added the Serb, who beat Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena on Thursday.

"I support a player standing up against people who are disrespecting and heckling him."

Asked about Swiatek's reaction, Spain's Paula Badosa did not think the top seed had cause to "complain".

"I played courts eight and nine and you can hear everything. I can hear Suzanne Lenglen, Philippe Chatrier, courts six and seven during the points.

"I think she's very lucky she can play all the time on Philippe Chatrier and she's OK with that."

Mauresmo also said the start of play on the outer courts has been brought forward to 10am [09:00 BST] on Friday after the opening week's schedule had been decimated by rain.

Because of weather delays, including two long stoppages on Thursday, there are still 25 of the 64 second-round singles matches to be completed.

None of the doubles matches have been finished.