“This is serious for us” – Swiatek takes on the crowd at Roland-Garros

by Bren Gray
swiatek beats osaka

After narrowly defeating former No 1 Naomi Osaka in the second round of Roland-Garros, Iga Swiatek attempted an even more daring feat: lecturing the French crowd.

The two-time defending champion had just saved a match point in her 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-5 victory over Osaka, and was clearly feeling brave. 

Across the three-hour encounter, the fans at Roland-Garros had been as vocal as it comes. At times, spectators called out during points, including on one occasion when Swiatek was hitting a challenging volley.

Speaking in her on-court interview, the Pole decided to address the crowd on their conduct.

“Please guys, if you can support us between the rallies but not during, that would be really, really amazing,” she implored the Parisian fans. 

“This is serious for us, we’re fighting our whole lives to be better and better and sometimes it’s hard to accept that,” Swiatek continued. “The stakes are big, and there’s a lot of money here to win. Losing a few points may change a lot.”

Swiatek’s reprimand goes down well with fans

In any context, bringing correction to a crowd is a delicate matter. In France, it’s even more challenging, with French tennis fans known for being vocal with their displeasure.

Surprisingly, Swiatek managed to walk the line successfully on Wednesday, receiving warm applause from the Philippe-Chatrier stands after her comments. In her press conference following the match, the 22-year-old elaborated with more of her thinking on the matter.

“I know the French crowd is enthusiastic. Yeah, but for now in tennis we have these kind of rules that there should be, like, more silence in the audience, and I just wanted to point out that it’s not easy for us,” Swiatek explained.

“I got the most frustrated when I missed that drop volley. Somebody shouted when the ball was flying to me.”

“I knew that I should be more focused and not let this distract me, but sometimes it’s hard, because in tennis we’re used to the stadium being silent during the point.”

“It happened more times, especially before the returns, and that’s why I wanted to speak out about it, because if it would happen one time, I would just let it go.”

Swiatek confessed that she knew speaking up was a risk because of the French crowd’s reputation, but she hopes that the Roland-Garros fans will be able to “treat me as a human and we can kind of work on it.”

Next up, Swiatek will face the winner of Jana Fett and Marie Bouzkova for a spot in the fourth round – a match that she hopes will be played in more silence.

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