Years from now -- heck, days from now -- few will remember that a man dressed in Swiss colors rushed the court at the French Open and tried to put a hat on the head of the eventual champion, Roger Federer. When it was all said and done, the incident was a goofy and harmless interruption in the coronation of Federer as the world's greatest tennis player. Still, one can't help but wonder: How can fans still be allowed to get so close to tennis players?
After Monica Seles was stabbed during a 1993 match in Germany, tennis officials took steps to prevent such an incident from happening again. Security was increased at venues, particularly during changovers. This didn't prevent the Barcelona soccer fan from getting near Federer today, though.
Micky Lawler, a member of the WTA Tour's board of directors told ESPN.com last year:
"Like 9/11 changed the world, the Monica Seles incident changed tennis. Once everyone had the opportunity to step back and take a breath, things had to happen. Tournaments had to expect much stricter and a higher standard of security. There was an overhaul on the way security was done."
The 9/11 comparison is apt in that tennis officials, like Americans, have become complacent in the relative calm since changes were enacted due to a terrible event. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.
In the same way that banning bottles of water on airplanes after 9/11 didn't make air travel any safer, stationing an extra guy in a yellow shirt behind the line judge didn't protect tennis players all that much more. Streakers still pop up during Wimbledon matches, after all.
If a spectator wants to get on the court, no amount of security is going to stop that person. Unless tennis wants to go the soccer route and put up fences and moats to keep fans away, dealing with idiots running on the court is going to be an occupational hazard. Hopefully, the worst thing they'll try to do is put on a hat on Roger Federer.