Sunday, May 24, 2015

ROLAND GARROS DAY 1: Federer handles a court-invader, Wawrinka slams tournament website

Roland Garros did not get off to the greatest of starts as security concerns were raised when a fan managed to get on court and approach Roger Federer for a picture, while the tournament’s official website posted an article heavily speculating details about Stan Wawrinka’s private life.

The Swiss pair were in stellar form in their opening round wins on Sunday, but both addressed the unfortunate incidents that marred the beginning of their French Open campaigns.

Federer, who eased past Colombian Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to make the second round, had a scare on court upon the conclusion of his match when a young fan raided the court and wanted to take a ‘selfie’ with the world No2.

The security guards were bizarrely slow in their reaction and it was Federer who fended for himself before the fan was taken away.

The No2 seed later revealed that this is the second time in as many days he has experienced an on-court fan encounter. On Saturday during Federer’s practice, more than one fan managed to get on the court.

“I'm not happy about it. Obviously not one second I'm 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 happen,” Federer said after his first round win yesterday.

“It happened during the finals in '09 as well for me. 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 was not five, he was not a five-year-old boy,” Federer added in French. “So the situation is that this should never happen on the Philippe Chatrier court in Roland Garros and it even happened yesterday to me. Nobody reacted in terms of security. It shouldn't happen too often. It's happened twice in two days. I think people should react more quickly.”

In the 2009 final between Federer and Robin Soderling, Jimmy Jump – a Spaniard famous for his interferences at sporting events – interrupted the match and approached Federer, putting a flag on his head, while the 2013 final between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer saw a protester get on the court and light up a flare right next to Nadal.

“Gilbert Ysern (tournament director) already came and apologised to me, and we had a quick conversation,” Federer added.

“I hope that 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.”

A press conference was held with the tournament director, Ysern, to address the security concerns and while the Frenchman acknowledged the mistake, he said no changes will be made to the safety procedures at the event.

“I think, well, some extent it's not the end of the world. Of course we should not make too big a case of that, but it's embarrassing, of course, for Roland Garros, when something like that happens,” said Ysern.

“Well, it simply shows that we collectively as an organisation made a mistake and we will have to correct that, of course, and make sure it doesn't happen again.

“I'm not going to tell you I'm happy with what happened this afternoon. But honestly, at this stage there is no reason for us to change the security procedures. They are organised; it was just a lack of judgment this afternoon.”

Meanwhile, a visibly irate Wawrinka was asked to react to an article that was posted on on Saturday, before getting removed some 90 minutes later, that carried the headline “Stan the Man versus Ilhan and Ilham”. Marsel Ilhan was the Turkish opponent he defeated in straight sets yesterday, and Ilham is Wawrinka’s soon-to-be ex-wife.

The article talked about Wawrinka leaving his wife, twice, and then suggested the 30-year-old was in a relationship with 18-year-old Croat player Donna Vekic.

“He may have more in common with 18-year-old Croat phenom Donna Vekic than just an agent. Apparently that news had come from the Vekic camp,” claimed the article.

The administrators of the official French Open website initially changed the headline before they eventually took it down completely.

“Completely stupid article. It's an official website of a grand slam, so I hope the guy who did that article is not a journalist. I also hope the guy who is supposed to check all the article on the website is not working anymore for the tournament,” said Wawrinka.

“I saw the article last night. I told the tournament that I wasn't really happy about it, and I don't think it was great for the tournament to do that shit article.”

Ysern again admitted to the mistake, saying: “We have to pay attention when we proofread the papers. But given what we have on the Internet, so many people write so many things, so many papers.

“So controlling this is complicated. It's complicated to control all levels, but we have to do this. When we missed this yesterday, we tried to catch up. Of course, we got rid of this article, and that's all. Everybody has faults. We have to admit it.”

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