May 24, 2015
Roger Federer cruised through his first-round match at Roland Garros with growing confidence – but showed rather less faith in the security arrangements at the French Open.
Although the number two seed started somewhat shakily, he ended convincingly with some spectacular winners in an entertaining 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Colombia’s Alejandro Falla.
Then a young fan breached security on the Court Philippe Chatrier and was left unchallenged for long enough to ask Federer to pose for a selfie.
‘I’m not happy about it,’ said Federer later. ‘It happened in the practice too. It was just a kid, but then three more kids came. And on centre court, where you think this could be a place where nobody can come on, he just wanders on and nothing happens.
‘It happened in the finals in 2009 as well for me, so I definitely think something needs to happen quickly. Basically yesterday already.’
Some might wonder what all the fuss is about. But memories of top player Monica Seles being stabbed court-side in Hamburg back in 1993 will never be erased, especially for stars of a certain age. So players have the right to expect to be able to feel relaxed and secure as they ply their trade.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga certainly looked relaxed against Swedish qualifier Christian Lindell, the popular Frenchman brushing the underdog aside 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. An American called Steve Johnson won the match of the day, a five-setter against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 3-6, 6-3.
There were no huge shocks on the first day, though Ana Ivanovic, a former Roland Garros champion and seventh seed this year, dropped the first set of her opener against Yaroslava Shvedova. She hit back emphatically to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.
Ivo Karlovic, the giant Croat, was the first seed (25) to fall, as Marco Baghdatis weathered a storm of some 21 aces before winning 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile Japanese hero Kei Nishikori negotiated tough mid-match resistance from Paul-Henri Mathieu to triumph 6-3, 7-5, 6-1.