Coco Gauff addresses 'noisy French Open crowd' issue after Iga Swiatek complaints

Gauff shares her view on the French Open crowd and how they have been behaving.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Coco Gauff addresses 'noisy French Open crowd' issue after Iga Swiatek complaints
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Mason

Coco Gauff reveals she has noticed that the French Open crowd may be a bit noisier this year but also adds that, unlike Iga Swiatek, there haven't been moments so far when she felt that the crowd was disrespectful to her or her opponent. 

Since Swiatek called out of the French Open crowd over "disruptive" behavior, several WTA players have been asked about the issue. Most notably, Naomi Osaka - who played against in the French Open second round - said she didn't feel that the crowd was doing anything that was too much. Paula Badosa, a former world No. 2, also didn't agree with Swiatek at all as she said that it is better when the crowd is engaged and also added that a player who always plays on the main courts shouldn't really complain about noise. 

So far at this year's French Open, Gauff has played three matches and clinched as many straight-set wins. On Friday, the third-seeded American ousted Dayana Yastremska 6-2 6-4 on Court Suzanne Lenglen - the second biggest court at Roland Garros.

Afterward, 20-year-old Gauff was asked to address the noisy crowds issue. 

“I like big crowds obviously, and I like when people are passionate about the match. I know sometimes during the point it can be tough when there's crowd noise, and especially when it's unexpected. I think constant noise is better," Gauff said.

"I think to an extent it's tough because you're watching a match at such high stakes, and I see myself as a spectator. Even when I'm watching my little brother play, you want to make a noise. It is tough sometimes. I think for the most part people are respectful to the players. There's obviously some crowds that maybe aren't. But my favorite court -- well, I mean, other than US Open."

Clive Mason
Clive Mason© Getty Images Sport - Clive Mason
 

Gauff: Fans have been respectful to me and my opponents 

Further addressing the question, Gauff shared that she has noticed a group of young kids who have been coming to her matches and also revealed that she has noticed their "super loud cheering." But the 20-year-old American highlighted that she hasn't noticed anyone stepping over the line in their cheering.

"Honestly, I like playing on Suzanne Lenglen the last two days, which I wouldn't probably have picked that answer in the past, but I don't know, there were so many kids on that court. They were, like, cheering for me really loudly, which I wasn't expecting," Gauff added.

"I feel like usually when I play on Lenglen, the crowd is more calm and chill. But for some reason this year, I don't know if the tickets have been changed. I don't know. Every time I played there, there was a group of boys, different boys, but all under the age of 12, and they were just cheering super loudly. I actually enjoyed that. And they were respectful to my opponent, which I like when it's like that.”

Gauff on one thing she learned from Serena Williams

As mentioned above, Gauff has won all of her matches pretty routinely so far - she dismantled Julia Avdeeva 6-1 6-1, defeated Tamara Zidansek 6-3 6-4, and ousted Yastremska 6-2 6-4. By not dropping a set or going to any tie-breaks, it is clear that Gauff has been doing extremely well on her return even by not looking at the stats. 

And now, Gauff shares that she focused on practicing returns because she noticed that former 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams used to do that. 

“One thing I learned from Serena [Williams], she would spend probably like an hour sometimes literally just hitting returns. I took inspiration from that because that’s the first part of the point. I think the average rally is like four or five balls. The first two balls are really important," Gauff said.

“For me, returns were something I was working on a lot because my return-made percentage honestly used to be really, really bad like a couple years ago. I’d be curious to look at those stats.”

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene
 

On Sunday, Gauff will return to the court to meet world No. 51 Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the French Open round-of-16. Heading into the match, Gauff has two wins and zero defeats against Cocciaretto. Previously, Gauff earned a two-set win over Cocciaretto in 2022 Guadalajara and she also beat the Italian earlier this year in Dubai.

Considering Gauff's recent form, she enters the Cocciaretto as the big favorite to clinch another routine win and make the French Open quarterfinal.

Coco Gauff French Open Iga Swiatek
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