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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, May 30, 2024

Surround sound—and varied vision on its place in Paris—have come to Roland Garros.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek made a personal plea to fans for “quiet please” during pivotal points following her pulsating 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-5 comeback victory over fellow four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Asked about Swiatek’s call for quiet today in her post-match presser, Paula Badosa suggest the reigning Roland Garros champion should see the big picture and appreciate fan fervor.

Badosa, who rallied for a dramatic 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 comeback win over Yulia Putintseva on the cozy confines of Court 8 today, said Swiatek “cannot complain” because she doesn’t have to play amid the sometime more chaotic conditions on outer courts.

“I think she cannot complain, because I played Court 8 and 9 and you can hear everything,” Badosa told the media in Paris. “Like, I can hear Suzanne Lenglen, Philippe Chatrier, Court 6, 7 during the points.

“I think she's very lucky she can play all the time on Philippe Chatrier and she's okay with that. But I don't mind. As I said, I played in small courts these days, and I was hearing so much noise. In that moment, I'm just so focused on myself and on my match that it doesn't really bother me.”

A stubborn Swiatek saved a match point fighting back from 2-5 down in the decider with a five-game surge to score her 16th straight Roland Garros victory.

Afterward, Swiatek praised the passion of French Open fans then took the unusual step of urging them to tone it down on crucial points.

“I wanna say one thing. I am sorry to even bring this up," Swiatek told fans on Court Philippe Chatrier. "I have huge respect for you guys and I know we are playing for you. This is entertainment and we are also earning money because of you...But when you scream something during the rally or right before the return, it's really, really hard to be focused.

"This is serious for us, we are fighting our whole lives to be better and better. Sometimes it's hard to accept that. The stakes are big. There is a lot of money to win. The few points may change a lot.”

Former Indian Wells champion Badosa offered a different perspective.

Reflecting on the COVID-19 era where some events were played before no crowds at all, Badosa said fan excitement is the fuel that energizes players.

From Badosa's point of view, players should embrace that passion rather than trying to mute it because without fan support the sport’s global reach would not be as great.

“Honestly, I like when the fans cheer and all this. I think I get pumped,” Badosa said. “Look, we had a very tough situation years ago when we were playing without fans with the COVID situation, so now, for me, I'm so happy they're back and I think they’re very important for our sport.”

Asked his stance on vocal fans, 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev offered a more nuanced view.

Remember, Medvedev flipped fans off in the early rounds of the 2019 US Open then turned the tough New York City crowd on forcing Rafael Nadal to five sets in the 2019 US Open final. Nadal earned a gripping 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 triumph in a ferocious US Open final fight that spanned four hours, 49 minutes and will go down as a classic.

In the end, Medvedev, who was a first-week villain for fingering the crowd after his win over Feliciano Lopez, emerged as a fan favorite. Medvedev turned jeers to cheers: his courage staring down one of tennis' greatest fighters prompted the 23,000 fans in attendance saluting the Russian with a sustained roar for his sheer defiance and guts. Exuding character during the match, Medvedev was fully embraced by fans and gave the love right back in his speech.

“I know earlier in this tournament I said something in a bad way and now I’m saying it in a good way: it’s because of your energy guys I'm in the final tonight," Medvedev told the US Open crowd that day. "It's gonna be always in my mind because I played in the biggest court in the tennis world and in the third set I was thinking what speech would I give.

“You guys push me to prolong this match because you want to see more tennis and because of you guys I was fighting like hell."

Medvedev has been both cheered and jeered in Paris and said crowd consistency is the key for him.

“Personally, I like it [quieter],” Medvedev said. “So, you know, if someone screams in your ear, your serve, you could double fault. That's as easy as that. That's not good.

“At the other side, if there would be no this rule and it would be allowed all the time, I think we would get used to it. Now what happens is that 95% of matches, tournaments, it's quiet. And then when suddenly you come to Roland Garros and it's not, it disturbs you, and it's a Grand Slam so you get more stress and it's not easy.”

While Medvedev said he would prefer quieter court conditions, the former No. 1 said he’s fine with fans pumping up the volume too as long as the rule is consistent. Because, Medvedev asserts, players can adapt to consistent conditions.

“If you ask me, I like it quiet. I like it quiet,” Medvedev said. “Again, even when the crowd goes crazy, the other player's ready to serve, quiet and let's serve, let's play. There is no in between. It either should be quiet or super loud but all the time, and then we would get used to it, I would get used to it also, and we would not actually complain about it. Yeah, for the moment it's quiet.”

It seems at least some officials are listening to Swiatek's call for quiet please.

The chair umpire admonished a fan for disrupting Novak Djokovic yelling out during his match on Court Philippe Chatrier today.

“You have to stop this,” the chair umpire turned and told a male fan in the front row who called out during a point distracting Djokovic as he held a 5-4 lead vs. Robert Carballes Baena today. “Hey, if it happens again we have to kick you out.”

In that case, the fan responded with a prayer gesture—presumably asking forgiveness for the intrusion.

Photo credit: Mateo Villalba/Getty