Paris - 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 said 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."
Results from the fourth day of the ATP Paris Masters on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x11) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x5) 0-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA x13) 6-3, 6-0
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x14) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
John Isner (USA) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3
Milos Raonic (CAN x4) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU x16) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Jack Sock (USA) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x12) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
Marin Cilic (CRO x9) bt David Goffin (BEL x8) 6-3, 7-6 (11/9)
Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-4, 6-3