Playing the Field: Man with flare interrupts French Open

It’s not uncommon to see streakers at European sporting events. Even the occasional (dressed) protestors will interrupt a big event. But we’re not sure about ever seeing a shirtless, masked man with a lit flare run onto a tennis court before.

With Rafael Nadal serving for the second set — and on his way to a dominant, straight-set victory — a man ran onto the court at Sunday morning’s French Open final with a flare burning bright.

Nadal, understandably, freaked out and started to bolt to the locker room before security intercepted the man and tackled him into the tunnel off court. Another security guy immediately jumped in front of Nadal to protect him from danger. As far as on-court interruptions go, this one was pretty scary.

As the broadcasters mention, the memory of Monica Seles being stabbed on court is frighteningly memorable to all tennis fans.

You can see another shirtless man being grabbed and wrestled off from the stands, before he makes it to the court.

A small fire also broke out after the flare lit whatever the man was carrying (a banner?) on fire. Thankfully, security actually handled this incident about as well as could be expected. Granted it would’ve been better if they guy hadn’t gotten on the court at all.

It didn’t appear as if Nadal was the target of an attack. It seemed to be more of a protest. But that doesn’t make it any less scary.

Can we please stop glorifying clowns who run onto the field of play as if they are just merry pranksters? It’s not funny. People have been seriously injured, especially in international soccer matches, and this was a scary reminder.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


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