- Fan approaches Federer on court after first-round win
- French Open tournament director apologizes to Federer
Roger Federer criticized French Open tournament organizers after a fan came on court following his first-round win at Roland Garros to try for an unauthorized photograph with the 17-time Grand Slam winner.
The incident happened as Federer walked off the main Court Philippe Chatrier after he beat Colombia’s Alejandro Falla in straight sets. It took security guards about six seconds to apprehend the teenager.
“I’m not happy about it,” Federer told reporters afterwards, adding the same thing happened yesterday in practice, when three children approached him. Federer said he’d received an apology from French Open tournament director Gilbert Ysern.
“Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that that’s where you do your job, that’s where you want to feel safe,” he said. “And so clearly I’m not happy about it. But nothing happened, so I’m relieved. But clearly it wasn’t a nice situation to be in.”
Talking to reporters in a hastily organized press conference, tournament director Gilbert Ysern called the incident “embarrassing.” He said security had been stepped up at Roland Garros after the Charlie Hebdo killings earlier in the year in Paris and that there had been “a lack of judgment,” by the on-court security guards.
The boy had probably come from one of the boxes on the side of the court, and will be banned from the rest of the tournament, Ysern said.
It’s not the first time an intruder has managed to enter the main show court in Paris. In 2009, Federer’s final against Sweden’s Robin Soderling was halted when a fan walked on court, and tried to put a hat on the former top-ranked player. Two years ago, ten people were arrested after the final between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, both from Spain, was disturbed by protesters.
In 1993, top-ranked Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by a mentally unstable Steffi Graf supporter at a match in Germany, leaving half an inch (1.5 centimeter) wound. She took a two-year break from the sport.
Federer’s match against Falla was a straight-forward win, with the 2009 champion advancing to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory with attacking net play.
Federer won 14 of 21 points at the net, while he struck 43 winners and had 26 unforced errors. Falla won 17 of the 25 times he went to the net, while he produced 30 winners and made 26 errors.
Federer, who came back to beat the lefthander after dropping the opening two sets in the first round of Wimbledon in 2010, is trying to take advantage of a favorable draw, which means he won’t have to play Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and defending champion Rafael Nadal until the final.
In an earlier match, last year’s women’s runner-up Simona Halep advanced with a straight-set victory over Evgeniya Rodina.
The third-seeded Halep, last year’s finalist, beat the Russian 7-5, 6-4 in the first match of the day on the main Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros. Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka defeated Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Also in action on the first day of the French Open is Japan’s fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori, who takes on France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu.