Federer blasts French Open after security scare

Roger Federer blasted French Open organisers after a fan breached tight security and raced on to court to grab a 'selfie' with the Swiss great.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner had just completed a routine 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Colombia's Alejandro Falla when he was shocked to see a young fan sprinting towards him on the showpiece Philippe Chatrier Court.

It was particularly embarrassing as security at this year's French Open has been tightened following January's deadly Islamist attack on Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Although the male fan was quickly manhandled away, 33-year-old Federer was furious with the lapse in security, claiming he had also been targeted in practice on Saturday.

"I am not happy about it. It happened yesterday in the practice, too. It's just a kid, but then three more kids came. And today on centre court where you would think this is a place where nobody can come on, just wanders on and nothing happens," said Federer.

"It happened during the finals in 2009 as well for me. So I definitely think this is something that something needs to happen quickly.

"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. 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."

In 1993, former women's world number one Monica Seles was stabbed in the back on court during her quarter-final match against Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg.

"We need to make sure that it's safe out there and people don't just wander on the court like a free pass, you know. That's how it's supposed to be," said Federer.

Two years ago in the final, which featured Rafael Nadal, was also held up when a spectator, brandishing a flare, leapt from the stands and onto the court before he was wrestled away by security officials.

Tournament director Gilbert Ysern admitted that Federer was right and that the youth, who had been sitting in the courtside sponsors boxes, had been banned from the event.

"But it's not the end of the world," said Ysern.

"It's embarrassing. It shows that we made a mistake and we have to correct it to make sure it doesn't happen again.

''There are other moments when people want to take photos, to sign a piece of paper. That's OK. We have time for that. Time slots for that,'' Ysern said. ''But on the courts, it's sacred, it's forbidden at any moment for whatever reason.''

Date: 24th May 2015, Source: AFP and Reuters


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