David Ferrer had a lot to contend with today, up against Rafael Nadal in the French Open men's singles final at Roland Garros. Nadal had won the event seven times, ultimately taking his record eighth title today, and Ferrer was up against a wall from the get-go. Unfortunately he also had to weather the distractions of protesters at the top of the upper level in Court Philippe Chatrier stadium, as well as the ill-fated appearance by a half-dressed, masked man wielding a flare.
Here is NBC's Ted Robinson, Mary Carillo, and John McEnroe with the call on the flare incident, an understandably scary couple minutes in light of what Robinson invokes the memory of, Monica Seles's stabbing in 1993.
Earlier in the final, protesters interrupted Nadal's service game as they barked out statements on children's rights from high up in the stadium. Here's Eurosport footage of that, as well as audience and security-personnel reactions:
One wonders what it will take for the keepers of some venues and events to make security the top priority that it must be at times such as these. The French Open has a history of run-ins on court, with Roger Federer being accosted by an attention-seeking soccer fan in the 2009 men's final against Robin Soderling.
Good on both Ferrer and Soderling for giving the thumbs-up gestures to their opponents on those days to indicate either that they were ready to play again or to ensure that Nadal and Federer were themselves composed enough to return to the match. Such poor form from the protesters and renegade attendees for distracting from these greats of the sport by selfishly seeking to push their politics or personalities upon the occasions. There is indeed a time and place for everything, and perhaps civil disobedience as well. These moments were not for that.
What do you think about the latest flare-up, and about tennis event security in general?
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