"Pisses me off that place this isn't packed" - Journalists and fans annoyed by empty seats in Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek's French Open 2R thriller

Journalists and fans questioned the empty seats at Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek
Journalists and fans questioned the empty seats at Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek's French Open second-round thriller (Source: Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek produced an absolute spectacle of a tennis match in the pair's second-round clash at the French Open on Wednesday, May 29. However, the nail-biting three-set match, played at Stade Roland Garros' 15,000-capacity Court Philippe-Chatrier, saw several empty seats. This prompted reactions from both tennis journalists and fans.

Osaka and Swiatek's match was billed as the battle of a former top-ranked women's tennis player against the reigning World No. 1. The Pole was the favorite going into the contest, considering her red-hot form, and things appeared to be going her way as she won the first set 7-6(1). However, the Japanese bounced back in the second set, overwhelming Swiatek 6-1 with her relentless and precise ball striking.

The third set saw Osaka establish a resounding 5-2 lead. At that point, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before defending champion Swiatek was ousted. However, the Pole showed remarkable powers of recovery, winning five consecutive games to clinch the set 7-5 and the two hours, 57 minutes epic.

Surprised by a considerable amount of empty seats despite the high-profile nature of the contest, multiple prominent voices in the tennis world came together on X (formerly Twitter) to express their dismay.

"It pisses me off that this place isn’t packed," wrote BBC commentator and The Tennis Podcast co-host David Law.
"Meanwhile, thousands waiting outside to get in for the night session. Just let them in to take any seat," commented The Times' tennis correspondent Stuart Fraser, responding to Law.
"Thousands of fans with ground passes haven’t seen a point since noon or so… And they milled around for hours….Maybe a few of them could’ve been accommodated to ensure a full house now?" questioned journalist and Tennis Channel analyst Jon Wertheim.

Fans weighed in with their critical opinions as well.

"Girl I would pay a million dollars to see this match why are seats empty," one fan wrote.
"People have NO CLUE what they’re missing. This match has been INSANE," another fan commented.
"Feels like this is the French Tennis Federation's fault, they should've let ground pass holders in with the weather being what it is," another fan chimed in.

"When you scream during rallies, it's hard to be focused" - Iga Swiatek to French Open crowd after narrow win over Naomi Osaka

Iga Swiatek (L) and Naomi Osaka (R) after their 2024 French Open second-round match
Iga Swiatek (L) and Naomi Osaka (R) after their 2024 French Open second-round match

In her post-match on-court interview, Swiatek pleaded with the French Open crowd to stay silent during rallies. According to the four-time Grand Slam winner, players' concentration levels are adversely affected if the crowd makes noise when points are being contested.

"I have huge respect for you guys and I know we are playing for you, but sometimes under a lot of pressure when you scream something during the rally, it’s really hard to be focused," Swiatek said.

Having survived Osaka's onslaught, Swiatek can now look forward to her third-round match at the French Open against Jana Fett or Marie Bouzkova. Fett and Bouzkova's match was suspended due to rain after 43 minutes of play.

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