VIDEO: French Open crowd jeers at Garbine Muguruza as she goes down to Kiki Mladenovic
Tennis venues are bound to have home fans cheering for their favourite athletes, but there is usually a good mix of people supporting the rival. This is perhaps even more so at a Grand Slam, which sees people from around the world converge to watch and support their favourite players, who may or may not be from their countries of residence.
Yesterday, defending champion and #4 seed Garbine Muguruza took on local hope and 13th seed Kristina ‘Kiki’ Mladenovic in the pre-quarter finals at the French Open. The Spanish-Venezuelan ace, who was looking to capitalize on the absence of Serena Williams and early exits from other top players, lost the first set to Mladenovic 1-6, a score met with cheers from the Mladenovic-supporting French crowd.
While support alone might not necessary have been rude to Muguruza, the crowd began to cheer every time Muguruza committed an error, cheering her mistakes as Mladenovic sought to take control of the match. The Spaniard won the second set 6-3, taking it to a decider – a big feat considering the crowd, firmly behind their local player, jeered between Muguruza’s first and second serves, with Mladenovic joining in to shout “Forza!” or ‘push harder!’ every time Muguruza faulted.
Finding it increasingly tough to manage the crowd, Muguruza almost broke down, eventually losing the deciding set 3-6 – a fact that also meant no former French Open champion would be in the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam.
The World No. 5 spoke following the match of being treated unfairly by crowds as well as unsportsmanlike behaviour by her rival Mladenovic, saying “The crowd was really tough today. I can't really understand. I don't know how to explain.”
"If you had been in my shoes on the court, I think you would have understood,” she went on, describing the defeat as a “very painful” one.
Mladenovic denied that Muguruza had been treated unfairly, saying "I don't think that they crossed the line.”
"I mean, I noticed once - and I think it was bad - when they kind of screamed between her first and second serve, but that's because they thought it's a double fault because the first serve was a let or something.
"But that's the only thing that happened. Otherwise, they were quite fair."
Mladenovic will play Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky in the quarter-final.