Five things we learned from day one at the French Open
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On opening day at Roland Garros security was a little bit too relaxed for Roger Federer, who was clearly perturbed by a fan's selfie attempt on the centre court.
Empty seats are the new sell-out
There were 32 matches on eight courts on the first day of this year’s French Open. Centre court was sold out for the first day of the 2015 championships. However you wouldn’t have thought so as the Romanian third seed Simona Halep took on the unseeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina.
Perhaps it was due to the 11am start. Perhaps it was due to the fact that she’s not a big name despite being in last year’s final.
Empty seats are the new safest policy
Well, if there’s no one watching the match, it’s difficult to have security breaches. A man got past the burly security lads to take a selfie with Roger Federer following his first round win over Alejandro Falla. Roger was less than pleased with the incident.
“Obviously not one second am I happy about it,” said the 2009 champion. “It happened on Saturday during practice, a kid got on and then three more kids came. But on centre court, normally you would think this is a place where nobody come on … he just wanders on and nothing happens.”
There’s much Federer love
He speaks English. He speaks French. He speaks Swiss-German. He speaks the language of success – after all 17 grand slam titles says a lot. Actually, it says most successful tennis players of all time. But the centre court incursion is not the first time it’s happened to Federer.
“It happened during the finals in 2009 as well," he said. "Something needs to happen quickly. Normally I only speak on behalf of myself but on this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players. The court is where you do your job. That’s where you want to feel safe. Clearly I’m not happy about it but nothing happened so I’m relieved but it wasn’t a nice situation to be in.”
Organisers hear what the players say
So here it is. A star player is accosted on the court by a man. The tournament director visits the star player in the locker room to say sorry about that. Star player states his concerns and tournament organiser tells the media that it’s not the end of the world. “But it is embarrassing,” conceded Gilbert Ysern, the tournament director. “It shows that we collectively as an organisation made a mistake. We have to correct that and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Starting the tournament on a holiday weekend might not be a good thing
It is a public holiday in France on 25 May. Many people go away to make the most of the weekend. And perhaps the security corps were pursuing a leisure principle on day one. Ysern says security procedures are actually good enough at Roland Garros and there’s no need to change them. He allotted the centre court breach to an error of judgement.
Ysern says security personnel will be told again that access to the courts is forbidden to the public – who bother to take up their seats - under any circumstances.
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