The fans at Roland Garros may sometimes take a bit of time to find their seats after taking the odd glass or two too many of vin rouge at lunchtime, but they are widely regarded as some of the most knowledgeable supporters in the tennis world (in spite of that annoying chant/song that ends with “aller”).
But one fan let the rest down on Sunday as he chose to yell abuse at Canadian teenager Filip Peliwo, minutes after he had just lost the boys’ singles final – his second consecutive grand slam final defeat. Peliwo was doing his best to smile for the cameras in the trophy presentation when this “fan” began yelling “Peliwo, you’re a disgrace”.
After losing his final to Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium, Peliwo had taken his disappointment and his anger out on his racket, which he smashed by the side of the court. But why this fan thought it necessary to abuse a junior with a totally unnecessary chant is anyone’s guess.
Peliwo, a softly-spoken, well-mannered and obviously talented junior dealt with it well, ignoring it while on the court and later saying that the thoughts of one idiot (my words, not his) were not worth worrying about. “It’s not bothering me what the guy said,” Peliwo said. “He’s not important to me, I don’t know him and doesn’t know me. I know I worked hard to get here.
“It was obviously very unpleasant. I don’t know why he did that, but in my opinion if I hadn’t let my anger out there would be seriously something wrong with me, like I didn’t care about it. It was the most disappointing day of my life and I would think it was understandable to do that. Obviously I’m not proud to break my racket but it happens sometimes.”
If only the fan had had the common sense shown by an 18-year-old junior. He ruined it for the rest.