US Open champion Stan Wawrinka traded verbal volleys with a French government minister after taking exception to crowd noise during his second-round match at the Paris Masters.
Wawrinka singled out a spectator in the front row at the Paris Bercy arena, said to be former senator Jean-Vincent Place, to reprimand him for being too loud during Wednesday s defeat to Germany s Jan-Lennard Struff.
“Oh, do you mind if we play a match? No, but seriously…it s midnight, if you don t want to watch us go home,” snapped Wawrinka, according to footage aired by Canal+.
However, Place told AFP on Thursday that he wasn t sure the Swiss star s anger was directed squarely at him.
“There was a hubbub in the stands and as I was in the first row…it s true that at midnight everyone is a bit distracted.
“We were talking with (French Tennis Federation president) Jean Gachassin, but honestly we weren t shouting. Frankly, I m not sure it was addressed to me in particular.”
Place later commented that he had been “whispering” with Gachassin and put Wawrinka s unhappiness down to the fact he was losing.
That drew the ire of the three-time Grand Slam winner, who fired back on Twitter: “hahaha whispering! I was still ahead…so bad loser is nice. Jean (Gachassin) wasn t next to him.”