Roger Federer could not hide his emotions on Day 1 of the French Open after being accosted by a young fan who stepped on Philippe-Chatrier Court looking for a selfie with the world No. 2 after his victory over Alejandro Falla.
The 17-time Major winner was clearly unhappy with tournament organisers and spoke in no uncertain terms about the slow response of the security.
“I’m not happy about it. Obviously not one second I’m happy about it,” Federer said.
The Swiss, who also hinted he had been confronted at practice, was however grateful the spectator, this time, meant no harm, in light of tennis’ history of violent incidents.
In 2013, a anti-gay marriage protester holding a flare high up his hand almost jumped into the same court during the championship match between Rafael Nadal and compatriot David Ferrer.
Any unforseen action by the bare-chested protester who could have disrupted play were nonetheless restrained by the swift response of security personnels.
Hence tournament director, Gilbert Ysern, has opined that security at the Roland Garros could not have been compromised, stressing it is the fans who need to be better informed.
“There is a designated time [for fans] to be close to the players during autograph or photo sessions. The players are more than willing. But the court is sacred,” Ysern explained. “It is forbidden to step onto it at any time, for any reason. Every spectator must be aware of that.
“This incident was clearly due to an error of judgment [by a member of the security team]. But there is no reason to change the security system. We have the staff we need, and they are sufficient in number. They are trained, debriefed, and prepared.
“However, we must ensure the message is understood, so we have stressed its importance once more. The incident this afternoon does not mean that the risk is higher. If the person had entered the court with an aggressive demeanour, they would never have got to the player. We have sufficient staff around the court to avoid that. The players are always safe.”
Federer headlined a host of seeded players to advance into the second round on opening day, after straight sets defeat of the Colombian qualifier 6-3 6-3 6-4 and will face unseeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers, who saw off Germany’s Matthias Bachinger 6-4 6-3 7-6 on Court Suzanne-Leglen (6) later in the afternoon.
Federer concluded: “Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that [the court is] 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. […]
“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.”
Wawrinka faults ‘shit’ Roland Garros article
Federer’s fellow Davis Cup finalist Stanislas Wawrinka was not spared of disappointment on Sunday.
The eighth seed was likewise left unhappy about an article posted on official French Open website which narrated the breakdown of his marriage and rumours alleging he has an affair with rising Croatian star Donna Vekic.
“Completely stupid article. It’s official website of a Grand Slam, so I hope the guy who did that article is not a journalist,” he said.
“I also hope the guy who is supposed to check all the article on the website is not working anymore for the tournament. Because for me, for a Grand Slam website, it should be an article about the tennis and that’s it.”
Upsets of Day 1