Jelena Ostapenko personally ejected a US Open fan who continuously shouted to disrupt her. The 2017 French Open winner was leading 4-1 in the third set and serving for the game when she reached the end of her tether with the heckler.
Ostapenko furiously waved her racket after the supporter refused to be quiet, despite receiving warnings from the umpire. The 26-year-old walked up to the side of the court where the fan was seated and shouted “go, go” while waving for him to leave.
The disrupter, dressed in a white T-shirt and white cap, walked off swigging a drink while the rest of the crowd cheered. Ostepenka went on to win the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. It is not the first time Court 17 has experienced drama this year.
Several players have complained about the strong smell of weed while competing on the outside court. Addressing the incident in her post-match press conference, the Latvian said: “With the weed, it’s a normal thing. Every match I smell it. It’s not a surprise they were complaining about.
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“But, yeah, this fan, I was leading 4-1 in the third set, and then suddenly I served a serve and he started to shout like crazy. Yeah, not like one or two words, I think two sentences in a row. Of course, the chair umpire told him to be quiet.
“I mean, he just left after the chair umpire told him something, so it was like go, go.”
Ostapenko takes on world No 1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth round and she knows it is going to be an incredibly difficult task to reach the quarter-finals. She explained: “I’m just going to play my game and focus more on myself. For sure it’s going to be a difficult match. On the other hand I have nothing to lose and I’m already in the fourth round. I think it’s a good achievement, especially at the end of the year. I’m just going to play my best.
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“She’s playing quite consistent. She’s winning a lot of matches. It’s also not easy to be No. 1 because everybody obviously wants to beat you. I probably will take advantage of that.”
She added: “I think it’s, of course, easier to play when you are not the favorite because, especially these three matches that I played, I was the favorite. You have a little bit more extra pressure because you understand that everybody expects you to win.
“So maybe that’s why it was little bit like a roller coaster. But I think now I can play free because it’s great to be in the fourth round, yeah, just enjoy it.”
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