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French Open bans booze

The French Open has prohibited fans from bringing alcoholic drinks into the stands in a bid to stop bad behaviour from spectators.

The tennis tournament, which began on 20 May and concludes on 9 June, may well see some big upsets, but perhaps none quite so big as the clamp down on drinking in the stands.

The ban has supposedly come about after Belgian player David Goffin had chewing gum spat at him by someone from the crowd during his victory over Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard earlier this week.

Goffin dubbed the incident “total disrespect” and said that the sport was “becoming like football”: “Soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and there will be fights in the stands.”

This and other instances of rowdy crowd behaviour has prompted Roland-Garros to take a hard line on fans’ access to alcohol, though it is unclear if the fan who spat the gum was drunk.

French Open director Amelie Mauresmo was reported in Eurosport to have said: “The umpires are really going to be even more strict to further respect the players and respect the game.”

“This is something that we’re not going to tolerate, to overstep these two things. That’s for sure. So umpires have quite an important role in this matter,” Mauresmo continued. “And definitely in terms of security, we’re going to try to see which people are maybe making trouble…because I think it’s a few individuals at some point that are overstepping.”

Mauresmo then issued the warning to fans: “If they go too far, they go out.”

Though there is to be no drinking in the stands (“that’s over,” according to Mauresmo), consumption of alcohol is still permitted between courts.

db has reached out to Moët Hennessy and Stella Artois, two of the official suppliers of Roland-Garros, for comment on the matter.

The French Open’s actions are perhaps more extreme than those of other tennis tournaments, though drinking in the stands can cause disruption, as one cork-popping spectator found out at Wimbledon last year.

The upcoming Olympics in Paris will also be imposing a ban on drinking in the stadia – though VIPs will be exempt.

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