Is the French Roland-Garros audience going overboard?


Jelena Ostapenko, Pablo Carreño Busta and Alex De Minaur will remember this Roland-Garros 2022 for a long time, but not necessarily for good reasons. Opposed to Alizé Cornet, Gilles Simon and Hugo Gaston respectively, they have had to face the wrath of an unbridled public in favor of the French players. Songs of ultras, whistles or cheers at every foul of the opponent: we had seldom experienced this atmosphere next to the Porte d’Auteuil. In a sport known for its fair play and relative calm in the stands, this edition of the Parisian clay court is a game changer.

The context can also explain this much more electric atmosphere. Once the confinements and the empty stadiums were finished, the spectators were able to find the stands, in a rather pronounced form of release. How can we not think of Hugo Gaston’s match against Carlos Alcaraz during the last Paris-Bercy Masters? In a hot enclosure, fully committed to the cause of the French, the Spanish prodigy had lost his footing and collapsed.

“Difficulty but not disrespectful”

“It’s never easy to play with the public against you and that was obvious yesterday. I knew it would be difficult to manage this environment, but I would not have imagined it to be so heavy. For my first in this context, it was not easy “, Alcaraz explained on his Instagram account after his defeat. Alex De Minaur, defeated by Hugo Gaston himself in the first round of this Roland-Garros 2022, acknowledged his surprise at some vindictive fans: i Think there is a certain line that should not be crossed. »

Thus, on Thursday evening, we saw Jelena Ostapenko cover her ears in front of Alizé Cornet, to disapprove of an atmosphere that was too hostile to her taste. “Poor thing, it couldn’t have been easy for her,” Niçoise said. But you have to have this advantage when you are French. That’s why the public is there. It’s hard enough, you have to have it with us, it boils down to players easily and it can be tough, but not a disrespect. “For Gilles Simon, for whom this is the last Roland-Garros, you should not get angry and especially savor this rare osmosis between the public and the French players. The one who defeated Pablo Carreño Busta at the end of the night in the first round with “Allez Gillou! in chaos and “Aux Armes” admits to having experienced it rarely. “I hadn’t had a chance to take advantage of it, but there were matches that I saw in Bercy and in the last editions of Roland … We saw great atmospheres that we didn’t have among us. »

“In Australia, they insult you!”

For the winner of the 2017 Davis Cup, it is a fair return to see the French public ignite in front of their players. With his long experience of eighteen years on the circuit, Gilles Simon was able to witness much more charged atmospheres than today at the Porte d’Auteuil. “You don’t realize how much they call us for fifteen years when we go to other countries! The Frenchman also cites the Australian Open, known as the hottest Grand Slam tournament, as an example.” When I played Kyrgios in Melbourne , the guys were calling you, not great stuff, he laughed. The whole game insults you. He had told the referee, he had told me he was not going to evict the whole court yet! »

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With an atmosphere ever closer to the Davis Cup, would the French public finally be on the page? Gilles Simon still believes that we are far from certain climates, especially in South America. “We are in an ultra-respectful audience but warmer than before, more prepared to go out. It’s super nice. And of course, it changes the games. For a player like me, I did the Davis Cup in Argentina, in Chile … It’s not Argentina boys yet. It’s not the same. “With five more Frenchmen in the running for the third round, Roland-Garros has not finished lighting this fortnight.

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