Roger Federer looks to be in something of a foul mood this week as the French Open begins; he’ll need to cheer up soon or risk affecting his own performances in Paris.
To be fair to the 17-time Grand Slam champion, he has a fair reason to be miffed. Player security should be the number one priority at any tournament before sponsorship money and brand image, but Federer was badly let down in his first-round match in the French capital.
Child in court
It is never good to see an intruder on any sporting event, but the ease with which a child managed to get on-court after Federer’s 6-3 6-3 6-4 win over Alejandro Falla certainly provides cause for concern.
I’m sure the Swiss legend would have begrudgingly accepted a selfie from the young fan from behind a crowd barrier at any other point over the next fortnight, but certainly not on-court.
It seems a little dramatic to suggest that the phone could have been a weapon, but you cannot be too careful. It could have been anybody getting on-court judging by the lackadaisical response from the security team.
Cannot happen twice
If the security on one of the show courts was this bad, imagine how much worse it could be on one of the outside courts. Something has to be done by tournament organisers to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
Then again, the French Open hierarchy haven’t exactly got off on a great foot with Switzerland tennis players this week. Federer’s incident came just after his compatriot Stan Wawrinka demanded that the author of an article of the tournament’s official be sacked after heavily referencing the player’s alleged family troubles in a match preview.
As a result of these troubles, you can understand why Federer has some issues with the sport that he has dominated for so long. However, he has also now launched an attack on Wimbledon chiefs even though that event is still weeks away.
When questioned on his colourful attire in his win over Falla – the 33-year-old sported a purple top and bright orange shorts – Federer claimed that he likes the colours, while also bemoaning the fact that he will have to return to all-white for the London event, calling the rules “ridiculously strict.”
The former world no.1 has a case with the issues at the French Open, but to criticise Wimbledon – which have always had the same rules – seems a little excessive.
Part of the charm at Wimbledon is that all players wear the same colour. It’s becoming a bit silly at the other tournaments where the Nike athletes are all in one style, while the Adidas athletes are in another; it isn’t a team sport.
Federer should respect the tournament that has provided so much joy and success down the years. Hopefully the security situation in France and other places is fixed and he can move-on from this; otherwise he risks becoming a grumpy old man.