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Liam Broady claims children insult stars at French Open | Tennis | Sport

Liam Broady claims children insult stars at French Open | Tennis | Sport

Liam Broady has claimed small children insult players at the French Open as he joined the argument that tennis crowds have become worse since Covid.

Roland Garros has banned alcohol in the stands after Belgian star David Goffin complained about the bad behaviour of French fans. World No.1s Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek have also both bemoaned the crowds here this year.

And tournament director Amelie Mauresmo admitted: “After Covid, we have seen a change in people’s behaviour in terms of atmosphere. The emotions came back and people were hungry to live this kind of emotion again. A few people clearly crossed the line.”

Now British No.5 Broady, who played the French Open in 2020 and then lost in qualifying last year, told talkSPORT: “A lot of players have said it’s been like that for a few years since Covid. I’ve had all sorts there, personal abuse.

“You try and laugh it off. But it’s difficult because you’ve only got 15 or 20 seconds between points and you’ve got a nine-year-old kid telling you what’s going to happen and insulting you. It’s a different experience.

“Last year in my second round of qualifying I had to ask for a group of people to get removed. I think it’s been happening for a few years now and the umpires don’t seem to be able to do anything. I do get the feeling at the French Open that a few guys go for a drink with their mates and see which players you can rattle.

“A lot of people don’t actually go to watch the sport. The sound is not a problem, If you change that rule I think players would get used to it. It’s more about when people are personally going for a player, giving them verbal abuse. We use the towels and the towel box is right next to where people sit and Goffin is getting spat at.”

Former champion Mats Wilander told L’Equipe: “Like everyone else, I have noticed a real change in behaviour among the tennis public. Whatever the location. This is true at Roland but also at the US Open or in Melbourne. There are lots of reasons for this but the first is COVID.

“I said it immediately after the pandemic, when people returned to the stadiums: their attitude had changed dramatically. It was the first time in history that all of humanity was impacted by a major danger. The planet has become much more emotional, nerves are more raw. They were ordered to act in this or that way. They didn’t like it. They came back with the idea of living and above all showing their emotions.

“We live in a world where more and more things are prohibited or strictly regulated. But the more we ban things, the crazier people become. And some are clearly crossing the line. Are they tennis fans? Sports fan? French ? Honestly, I do not know. But the lack of respect is becoming more common. And not just at Roland-Garros.

“I love it when an audience gets fired up and creates a crazy atmosphere. Let’s not forget that passion gets the athletes going. I believe that 98% of spectators who come to Roland-Garros have an impeccable attitude. They love tennis. But there is always 2% to ruin everything. This is true in all situations of life, while driving, at a restaurant or on the street. It reflects the world we live in.”

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