Protesters with flares interrupt French Open final

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm •  Published: June 9, 2013
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PARIS (AP) — A man who jumped onto the court with a fiery flare spurting white smoke briefly interrupted the French Open final Sunday between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.

The topless spectator wearing a white mask surged from the crowd near Nadal as the Spanish player was about to serve for the second set, leading 5-1. The man had the words "Kids right" written on his belly.

Security personnel wrestled the man to the ground and quickly hauled him away.

"I felt a little bit scared at the first moment because I didn't see what's going on. I just turned there and I watch a guy with some fire," Nadal said. "It's one of those things that nobody can prevent."

Roland Garros tournament director Gilbert Ysern did not dwell on the matter.

"I have no wish to speak about it, quite honestly. The only thing I will (say) is that luckily our security services did a great job," Ysern said. "I don't want to give any additional publicity to these people, who, sadly, have a lack of a respect for sport and sportsmen. It's just pathetic."

The center-court incident was one of several within the space of a few minutes by protesters. Police officials said 12 people had been handed over by tournament security officials for questioning by police. Seven were held in custody for further questioning for bringing flares into Roland Garros and the other five were released.

A guard stood near Nadal, protecting him, while the protester was subdued. Nadal took a couple of steps back to get away from the protester and, once the protester had been wrestled to the ground, shook the guard's hand before resuming play.

"Thank you very much to all the security guys. They did just amazing work," Nadal said. "They (were) very quick and they were very courageous."

The match was delayed only briefly. Nadal beat David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to win his eighth French Open title.

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