Mon, June 08, 2009
Sports > Tennis & Golf > The 2009 French Open tennis tournament

French Open final intruder facing prison term

2009-06-08 05:37:34 GMT2009-06-08 13:37:34 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

An unidentified supporter is grabbed by a security officer as Switzerland's Roger Federer plays Sweden's Robin Soderling during their men's singles final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday June 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Security take away an unidentified supporter after he ran onto the court to place a hat on the head of Switzerland's Roger Federer as he plays Sweden's Robin Soderling during their men's singles final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday June 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Christiophe Ena)

An unidentified supporter runs onto the court to place a hat on the head of Switzerland's Roger Federer as he plays Sweden's Robin Soderling during their men's singles final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday June 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Christiophe Ena)

PARIS - The spectator who confronted Roger Federer during Sunday's French Open final insisted he had only wanted to express his support for the Swiss star in his bid for Grand Slam glory.

The incident, which happened with Federer leading 6-1, 2-1 against Sweden's Robin Soderling, stunned the players, officials and capacity crowd on the Philippe Chatrier centre court.

As Federer prepared to serve, the spectator, a regular interloper at sports events both at home in Spain and abroad and known by the self-styled nickname Jimmy Jump, clambered over the courtside wall and rushed up to him.

Dressed in the Swiss colours of red and white and brandishing a flag of his football team - European champions Barcelona- he tried but failed to place a red hat on Federer's head.

Security guards ran at the spectator who darted off to the other side of the court before he was brought down and carried off forcefully.

As he was being taken away he was heard saying that he had wanted to pay homage to Federer and make a gesture against dethroned Spanish champion Rafael Nadal, who is known to be a fan of Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid.

He was taken into custody and faces up to 12 months in prison or possibly more if the French Tennis Federation decides to take legal action against him.

Federer, who went on to win the match 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, said that it had not been the first time such an incident had happened to him during a match recalling similar intrusions at Wimbledon and Montreal.

"I didn't know what had happened until I heard the crowd react," he said. "So that gave me a fright seeing him so close right away.

"Normally they look at you and say 'sorry I have to do this', but this guy looked at me and I was not sure what he wanted. He seemed to want to give me something.

"Maybe I should have sat down and taken a minute to reflect on what had happened. It was a touch scary."

Jimmy Jump has his own self-promotional web-site devoted to his antics both in Spanish and English and on which he sells T-shirts with his own logo on it.

Previous incursions include the recent Spanish football league match between Racing Santander and Barcelona and the 2007 rugby union World Cup final in Paris between England and South Africa.

(Agencies)

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