Shirtless Protester With Flare Rushes Court At French Open Final

11:42 AM, Jun 9, 2013   |    comments
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PARIS -- A shirtless, masked protester carrying a lit flare jumped on the court during Sunday's French Open final, near where Rafael Nadal was preparing a serve to David Ferrer. The man jumped over fans in the front row to invade the court before he was tackled by security and removed.

Nadal saw the intruder and broke for the locker room before being corralled by a security guard.

Neither Nadal nor Ferrer ever appeared to be in imminent danger from the intruder, but the incident cast a pall on the match as it drew the inevitable comparisons to the Monica Seles tragedy from 20 years before.

Crazed fans have been getting on tennis courts far too easily in recent years. In 2009, a man ran on the court at the French Open final and tried to place a red hat on Roger Federer's head (below). Similar incidents at other Slams were also innocent, like the time a man tried to hug Federer and another incident in which a trespasser wanted to shake Nadal's hand.

Tennis can't stand for the continued intrusions. The man on Sunday was just a few feet away from Nadal. Even if he didn't have harmful intentions, the next one could.

Minutes before the incident, fans in the upper deck were escorted out of the stadium for disrupting the match with a loud protest about children's rights. The group was protesting France's recent same-sex marriage law and were calling for the removal of French president Francois Hollande.

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