Novak Djokovic opens up on Roland Garros crowd behavior and alcohol ban

Friday, 31 May 2024 at 20:30
Novak Djokovic shared his opinion on the controversies surrounding crowd behavior at Roland Garros. The French Open organizers recently decided to ban alcohol consumption in the stands following an alleged spitting incident involving David Goffin.
The Belgian player faced local Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in his debut and did not receive favorable treatment, with constant interruptions during points and even accusing a fan of spitting gum at him during his first-round victory.

Djokovic shares his experiences with crowd behavior at Roland Garros

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic acknowledged that he himself has faced difficult moments at the French Open due to crowd behavior, especially when it comes to supporting local players: "They are very passionate fans," Djokovic said of the Roland-Garros crowds. "At times they are not easy, and I have been having some love affairs with the fans here, and also some tough matches, some tough seasons,” the 3-times champion said.
"I have experienced both sides. Obviously, you always want to be the one that they support or at least have a neutral atmosphere, but it's not always possible for that to happen, in particular, when you're playing against a French player like Goffin or I did in the first round.”
"That's where you have to just be aware that you're going into a big battle; not just with your opponent," the 24-times Grand Slam champion added.
Djokovic is the defending champion. He won the title in 2016, 2021 and 2023
Other players have also complained about crowd behavior, such as Nicolas Jarry, who was eliminated in the first round by Corentin Moutet in one of the Day 1 surprises. In a match that had history from the Santiago Open, where Moutet was the victim of the crowd, the Frenchman took to social media to rally French support against the Chilean:
"Of course, [they want to] do everything to support their own home favourites, their own countrymen and countrywoman to win, particularly if they are underdogs," Djokovic commented. "On the outside courts I saw highlights of Goffin's match and that they can be even more loud and inappropriate at times. It's part of what we do; it's part of sport.
"We are different from football or basketball, but at the same time, you want a good atmosphere as a player. I really want to see fans cheering, and I want to see that atmosphere."

Djokovic compared his experience in other tournaments:

Nole commented that not all Grand Slams are experienced the same way: “Wimbledon is different," the three-time Roland-Garros champion said. "Obviously, Wimbledon has its history, culture and tradition," he added.
"Most of the other tournaments you really want to see fans cheering and chanting songs for their player or country; that's beautiful to experience. It's a fine line when it starts becoming disrespectful towards the player,” he added. "In those instances, I understand that a player like Goffin reacted, because I have experienced quite a few times those particular situations.
"I support a player standing up, you know, against people who are disrespecting and heckling him,” Novak Djokovic stated. "It's not always possible to tolerate. Of course, it's very much needed, because you don't want to be spending unnecessary energy elsewhere. But, you know, at times you just have to face somebody that is heckling you."

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