The Roland Garros crowd are known for various things. They know a lot about tennis, they are stylish, they take lunch time very seriously and most of all, they are what I like to call ‘professional booers’.
The French are as tough on their own as they are on anybody else and if there’s something they’re not happy about they air their grievances out loud.
During the past three years I’ve attended the French Open, here are a few things that I have seen attract a classic French crowd boo:
If you’re playing a local
Andy Murray walked on court to boos in his fourth round. It’s not because the crowd don’t like him, but because he was playing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. So the spectators made sure they let Murray know what he’s up against.
If you break a racquet or argue with the umpire
It sounds ironic that the crowd would be unhappy about someone complaining, but that’s how it goes here. If a player loses his/her temper, breaks a racquet or discusses a call with the umpire, that player should be ready to get booed.
If it rains
We haven’t had much rain here this year but the past couple of years have been quite wet in Paris. While no one knows who exactly is the subject of the booing in this case, I’ve definitely seen the crowd boo, on more than one occasion, when it started raining. Although I don’t blame them because the venue here is the worst when it comes to finding a dry spot to hide in wet conditions.
If the announcer reveals an unfavourable schedule
At the end of each day, the stadium announcer recites the following day’s order of play on the various courts. Last year, I witnessed the crowd boo the announcer on Chatrier because apparently the player they liked was scheduled on Lenglen, not the main stadium.
Tomas Berdych is not a happy man. Crowd screaming and cheering and doing the wave with their umbrellas out. Welcome to the French Open!
— Tom Perrotta (@TomPerrotta) May 31, 2015
If you’re sick and skip the on-court interview
Maria Sharapova struggled with a wretched cold throughout the first week in Paris and for her first couple of matches, she barely had a voice to do the on-court interview.
That prompted a series of boos from the crowd, although in their defence, they only did it after her first match, not the second.
So what are the things the crowd here like to applaud?
The most I’ve seen them animated is when someone catches a wild ball at the first try. That seems to impress them more than anything else. That and a Gael Monfils comeback of course.