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Gauff agrees with Tiafoe about crowd noise in tennis, to a point

Gauff agrees with Tiafoe that giving fans more freedom at tennis matches would make the experience more enjoyable for them.

Coco Gauff, Miami 2023 Coco Gauff, Miami 2023 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Asked to give her take on Frances Tiafoe’s recently published comments about tennis allowing fans more leeway at tennis matches when it comes to talking and moving around, Coco Gauff says she’d be okay with it – with a caveat.

“It’s quite interesting what Frances said,” Gauff told the press after defeating Rebecca Marino in straight sets on Thursday in Miami. “I definitely think it would be more enjoyable for the fans, especially in the stadium, but I don’t know how players would be able to do that.”

Gauff: tennis doesn’t need to be completely silent

“I’ve always said tennis doesn’t need to be completely silent,” Gauff continued. “Also growing up, I played at Pompey Park. They would always have baseball games, basketball practice, swimming. It was so loud over there.

“My dad was like, ‘I never want to hear you complain about noise during a match.’ This is when I was like eight or nine.”

The sixth-ranked 19-year-old admits that too much noise can affect the all-important skill of reading and tracking an opponent’s shots. There is a lot of information in the sound that a player’s racquet makes upon contact with the ball, and Gauff relies on it.

“I’m not the particular player that’s going to complain about noise,” she said. “I definitely think it affects the tracking of the ball, so I’m not going to say that. Maybe a little bit of noise, I would welcome it. I don’t know if we could do like full blasting music.”

Tiafoe: People should be able to come and go

What uninitiated fans might find strange when they go to a tennis match, is that they are not allowed to take their seats when play is underway. Fans must queue at entry ways until a change of ends. It can become particularly painful when missing the start of a match, as players don’t have a 90-second changeover until after the third game.

“I think fans should be able to come and go and move around and speak during matches,” Tiafoe told Forbes in an interview. “Imagine going to a basketball game and not saying anything.” 

Tiafoe said some events should retain tradition, such as Wimbledon, but “outside that, let’s start to change things to bring younger fans to the game.”

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