Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2024, Paula Badosa - Indian Wells 2021

Iga Swiatek ‘very lucky’ to play on bigger courts claims former world No.2

Iga Swiatek has heightened the conversation about crowd involvement at Roland Garros, with Paula Badosa suggesting that the world No.1 has it easier than most.

Swiatek addressed the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier after beating Naomi Osaka on Wednesday, seemingly frustrated after fans had called out during points in the three set match.

“I’m sorry to even bring this [up],” said Swiatek in her on-court interview. “I have huge respect for you guys [the fans] and I know that we are basically playing for you because this is entertainment and we’re also earning money because of you.”

She continued, “But sometimes under a lot of pressure, when you scream something during the rally or right before the return, it’s really hard to be focused. I usually don’t bring this up because I want to be the kind of player who is in the zone and focused. But this is serious for us, we are fighting our whole lives to be better and better, and sometimes it’s hard to accept that, because the stakes are big and there is a lot of money here to win, so losing a few points may change a lot.

“Please guys, if you can support us between the rallies but not during, that would be really amazing. I hope you’re still going to like me, because I know that the French crowd might get some players that they don’t like and then boo, but I love you guys and I always love playing here, so let’s continue that.”

Many players have been asked about the crowds at Roland Garros since Swiatek made this statement, with former world No.2 Paula Badosa implying that the Pole is in a privileged position.

“I think she cannot complain, because I played Court 8 and 9 and you can hear everything,” claimed Badosa. “Like, I can hear Suzanne Lenglen, Philippe Chatrier, Court 6, 7 during the points.

“I think she’s very lucky she can play all the time on Philippe Chatrier and she’s okay with that.”

Badosa went onto reveal that she is less bothered by crowd noise when playing, “But I don’t mind. As I said, I played in small courts these days, and I was hearing so much noise.”

The Spaniard added, “In that moment, I’m just so focused on myself and on my match that it doesn’t really bother me. Honestly, I like when the fans cheer and all this. I think I get pumped. Look, we had a very tough situation years ago when we were playing without fans with the Covid situation, so now, for me, I’m so happy they’re back and I think they’re very important for our sport.”

Swiatek is not the only player to complain about crowds at Roland Garros this year, with David Goffin revealing that someone had spat chewing gum at him in the first round.

This led to Amelie Mauresmo announcing that alcohol would now be banned from being consumed in the stands.

Inside the baseline…

It is a tricky situation to comment on, because Paula Badosa is right that Iga Swiatek does have it better than most players on tour. However, Swiatek has earned that right as the world No.1 and four-time Grand Slam champion, with three of those titles coming at Roland Garros. The main thing is that crowds feel able to express themselves and evoke emotion, while still being respectful to players during the points.

READ MORE: French Open boss calls for ‘respect’ after banning alcohol in stands

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.