Tennis

Tearful Muguruza hits out at crowd's 'lack of respect'

An emotional Garbine Muguruza blasted the French Open crowd for being disrespectful after the defending champion lost to home hope Kristina Mladenovic in the last 16 on Sunday.

The Spaniard departed Court Suzanne Lenglen scoldingly wagging her finger as the crowd were asked to applaud Muguruza following her 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 defeat.

"I think the audience was really tough today. I can't really understand. I don't know how to explain," said Muguruza, whose post-match press conference was briefly interrupted when she broke down in tears and left the room before quickly returning.

"If you had been in my shoes on the court, I think you would have understood.

"I don't know what people were expecting. I'd rather not say anything more."

Mladenovic thrived on the partisan support from the home faithful as the 13th seed ensured the host nation will have two women in the quarter-finals for the first time in 23 years.

But Muguruza said she felt the crowd lacked respect at times.

"I just think that they were a little bit, sometimes should be a little bit more respectful. The chair umpire has to always calm the crowd down," she said.

But she added: "I'm not here to create enemies. I mean, I love playing here."

Asked whether she could hear Mladenovic yelling "forza" (come on) on her unforced errors, Muguruza replied: "No, I think she speaks like 25 languages, I heard."

Muguruza's defeat means Justine Henin, who won the title in 2003 and then from 2005 to 2007, remains the last woman to successfully defend her crown at Roland Garros.

"It was a disputed match. I lost confidence, and my opponent of course was on home turf, so it created a lot of tension.

"So of course I'm sad. It's a very painful defeat here in the French Open."

The departures of Muguruza and 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova meant that the French Open is guaranteed a new women's champion on Saturday.

Three-time winner Mats Wilander thinks that it was the best thing that could have happened to a tournament missing the pregnant Serena Williams and the not-invited Maria Sharapova.

"It is great that it didn't just fall to one of the obvious candidates," said Wilander.

"Exciting, new faces are great for the tournament... and great for the sport," added the Swede, who invigorated tennis in 1982 when he won at Roland Garros as a 17-year-old. - WIRE SERVICES

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