Wednesday 24 January 2018

Video: Roger Federer fumes after French Open win was interrupted by fan looking for selfie

Switzerland's Roger Federer appeals to security after a spectator tries to take a
Switzerland's Roger Federer appeals to security after a spectator tries to take a "selfie" on court after his win Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic

Tom Allnutt

Roger Federer criticised French Open security after he was intercepted on court by a spectator at the end of his first-round victory over Alejandro Falla.

A young boy ran on court and made persistent attempts to take a photograph with the Swiss as he tried to leave Philippe Chatrier, before security finally intervened.

Federer cruised to a 6-3 6-3 6-4 win over Colombian Falla but the 17-time grand slam champion was angry about the incident, saying it was not the first time it had happened at the tournament.

"I'm not happy about it, obviously not for one second am I happy about it," Federer said.

"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, he just wanders on and nothing happens.

"It happened during the final 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 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 said he received a personal apology after the match from Roland Garros tournament director Gilbert Ysern but insisted action needed to be taken to prevent similar incidents occurring again.

"First, it should never happen," Federer said.

"I'm not just speaking about Roland Garros, but now that we are playing Roland Garros, there are so many players, so many fans, so much focus by the media on Roland Garros that people should react much more quickly.

"That's true as well for the other tournaments. I think it's essential. I think that's in terms of safety, they should be well-educated. They should know what they do.

"It's not just being there, standing there on the courts wearing a nice tie and suit.

"It's not that funny and I hope there is going to be a reaction from the tournament.

"They apologised, and I must say that I appreciated this, but I'd like to see what's going to happen next."

Player safety has been a major concern in tennis since 1993 when American Monica Seles was stabbed by a spectator in Hamburg.

Ysern said the young boy had been banned from the rest of the tournament and that allowing him to enter the court had been an error of judgement rather than procedure.

"Roger has grounds to be unhappy," Ysern said.

"It's not the end of the world, we should not make too big a case of it, but it is embarrassing.

"When something like that happens it shows we as an organisation have made a mistake and we have to correct that and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"There is no reason at this stage to change the security procedure, it was just a lack of judgement.

"Clearly the people who were on court did not do their job the way they should have done.

"We all know in tennis, like in other sports, crowds cluster around players looking for signatures, autographs and pictures.

"That is where the lack of judgement lies because the security people's instinct must have been that it was acceptable, which it is clearly not.

"All the security people will have the message reinforced that nobody is allowed to go on court in any case, at any time, for any reason."

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