Iga Swiatek lashes out at crowd act amid sad French Open scenes around Naomi Osaka

Swiatek took up her issue with the French Open crowd after Osaka was left in tears.

Iga Swiatek took the extraordinary step of addressing the French Open crowd in Paris after her second round epic against Naomi Osaka that left the Japanese tennis star in tears. Swiatek took exception to fans shouting out during points as she staged an epic comeback and saved a match point, before sending four-time major winner Osaka packing in a thrilling 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 7-5 triumph.

Osaka led 5-2 and 30-0 in the deciding set and set up a match point at 5-3 but couldn't finish the job against the two-time defending champion. With rain washing away a large chunk of play on the other courts, Swiatek and Osaka put on a spectacle under the Court Philippe Chatrier roof, with the Japanese star playing arguably her greatest match on her least favourite surface.

These images show Iga Swiatek's French Open second round match against Naomi Osaka.
Iga Swiatek hit out at the French Open crowd about distracting her during the epic second round match against Naomi Osaka. Pic: Getty/Tennis Channel

It was only Osaka's second grand slam tournament since becoming a mother last year, with the 26-year-old knocked out in the first round at the Australian Open in January. And the Japanese star came within one point of causing the biggest upset in the women's draw so far, only for Swiatek to lift as her opponent began to falter.

Osaka admitted she was heartbroken and left in tears after the match but was still able to put the shattering defeat into perspective. "I cried when I got off the court, but realised I watched Iga in this tournament when I was pregnant (with daughter Shai) last year and remembered it was my dream just to play her."

It was a contest that left both players emotional, with Swiatek addressing the crowd after the match about some of their antics during the match. The Polish star said while she appreciated the support and what the fans mean to the players, she asked that they refrain from calling out during points or before a return of serve. The World No.1 explained that it was hard for players to remain focused due to such distractions and was given a round of applause for her candid speech.

"I have huge respect for you guys and I know that we are playing basically for you, because it's entertainment and we're also earning money because of you, but sometimes under a lot of pressure when you scream stuff during the rally or right before the return it's really, really hard to be focused," Świątek told the crowd. The World No.1 said she hoped the crowd lecture would not see her targeted by notoriously vocal fans at Roland Garros.

Pictured left to right, Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek at the French Open.
Naomi Osaka was shattered after letting a match point slip in her French Open defeat against two-time reigning champ Iga Swiatek. Pic: Getty


"This is serious for us, we're fighting our whole lives to be better and better, and sometimes it's just hard to accept that because the stakes are big and there's a lot of money here to win," she added. "So please, guys, if you can support us between the rallies but not during that would be really, really amazing. I know the French crowd gets players they don't like and they boo, but I know you love me so let's keep that."

Swiatek's frustrations with the crowd were evident at 5-4 down in the crucial third set when she looked to set up three break points on Osaka's serve. The Japanese star put up a massive defensive lob, prompting a huge gasp and loud comments from fans in the stands, before Swiatek sent the overhead smash into the net.

Home fans were overwhelmingly in support of Osaka during the match and had to be warned about shouting during points on numerous occasions by chair umpire Aurelie Tourte. But Swiatek ultimately rose above the drama and praised the level of Osaka after keeping her hopes of a third straight French Open title alive.

"Naomi played amazing tennis with loose hands," Swiatek said. "Sometimes risking a lot but playing really great. I'm happy she's back and playing well." The victory saw the 22-year-old World No.1 extend her Paris winning streak to 16 matches, with tennis greats Chris Evert and Andy Murray among those to praise the spectacle despite a large number of empty seats around the Centre Court.

In other women's results in Paris on day four, Ons Jabeur beat Colombia's Camila Osorio 6-3 1-6 6-3, while US Open champion Coco Gauff cruised through to the third round with a straightforward 6-3 6-4 win over Tamara Zidansek. The hopes of home fans were dashed though when French No.1 Caroline Garcia went down 6-3 6-3 to former finalist and 2020 Australian Open champ, Sofia Kenin.

with agencies