PARIS: Roger Federer blasted French Open organizers on Sunday (Monday in Manila) 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 targetted 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 center court where you would think this is a place where nobody can come on, just wanders on and nothing happens,” said Federer.
“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.”
Federer was also involved in a security scare in the 2009 final at Roland Garros when a fan ran on to the same court and placed a hat on the star’s head.
Two years ago the final, which featured Rafael Nadal, was also held up when a shirtless spectator, brandishing a flare, leapt from the stands and onto the court before he was wrestled away by security officials.
Player safety at tennis tournaments has been a major concern ever since 1993 when Monica Seles was stabbed by a deranged fan in Hamburg.
Tournament director Gilbert Ysern admitted that Federer was right to be “pissed off” and admitted 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,” added 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.”