"I am ashamed of the French crowd" says Henri Leconte to French newspaper Le Parisien. If it is one of the nation's greatest champions to say that, it means something must have indeed have happened. Here is why, Henri got very mad at his fellow countrymen and countrywomen on Friday, at Roland Garros.
The French crowd sure is one of the most unique crowds in tennis. With its chants, its "Alleeez" mostly followed by the song started by one spectator and finished by the others "Po po po pa ra pa, Allez".
You can either love it or hate, just as much as it either loves you or hates you. When the French crowd loves you it becomes one of the best allies a tennis player could find on court. Ask the French players. All of them, one by one, have been sustained, cheered, defended - even aggressively sometimes this year - relentlessly.
But something unexpected happened on Friday in Paris. It was a big moment for French tennis when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stepped on court to face Stan Wawrinka in the men's singles semi-finals. Jo was bidding to become the first Frenchman to reach the last act in Paris since 1988, a 27-year wait that could have come to an end.
That's because Jo's opponent, Stan the Man, was a player Tsonga had managed to beat before in his career three times out of six, once at Roland Garros too, in 2012. That said, when Jo walked on court at 1:00 PM on Friday, the Philippe Chatrier court was half empty.
As the stands got increasingly fuller as the match progressed, still the atmosphere expected for the great clash really wasn't there, as Leconte very well explains: