French Open ‘Embarrassed’ by Fan Intrusion After Federer WinBy
Fan who walked on court trying to take photograph banned
French Open tournament director apologizes to Federer
The incident happened as Federer walked off the main Court Philippe Chatrier after he beat Colombia’s Alejandro Falla in straight sets on the opening day of Roland Garros in Paris yesterday. It took security guards about six seconds to apprehend the teenager, who was holding up a camera phone.
“I’m not happy about it,” Federer told reporters afterward, adding that he’d had a similar situation occur Saturday in practice, when three children approached him.
Tournament director Gilbert Ysern apologized for the incident, Federer said.
“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, Ysern called the incident “embarrassing.” He said security had been stepped up at Roland Garros after the murders at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo 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.
Maria Sharapova starts the defense of her second French Open title today against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, while Britain’s third-seeded Andy Murray faces Argentina’s Facundo Arguello. Seven-time major singles champion Venus Williams plays former Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens in an all-American clash, while former top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus meets Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. The first round concludes tomorrow, when nine-time winner Rafael Nadal of Spain and top-ranked Novak Djokovic scheduled to play.
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 Djokovic, Murray and Nadal until the final.
Last year’s women’s runner-up Simona Halep opened the clay-court major 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 while U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, the fifth seed from Japan, beat France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-3, 7-5, 6-1. American Steve Johnson overcame Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
in a five-set match.
Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 winner from Serbia, overcame a scare against Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.
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