A Croatian fan managed to get onto the tennis court last night after Andy Murray's 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Marin Cilic in the Aussie Open semifinals.
He was eventually carted away by security but not before he was able to get close enough to shake hands with his compatriot, recalling last year's U.S. Open when an excited fan ran onto the court and planted a smooch on Rafael Nadal before security took him away and Roland Garros when a man tried to put a flag on Roger Federer during the final.
As you can see in this photo below the security in yellow (is being bald a prerequisite for this job?) seemed a bit frozen in their tracks even after he got what the 21-year old called a "present":
Q. Did you have somebody come up to you out of the stands and shake your hand?
MARIN CILIC: I think the fan got excited and he wanted to shake my hand, so... I gave him a present.
Q. What did you give him?
MARIN CILIC: Nothing. I shook his hand.
Q. He had a Croatian jumper on.
MARIN CILIC: Right, he was happy.
Okay these incidents are driving me fucking bonkers. I mean, it's good to see Marin taking it in stride but this is a big issue that needs to be addressed. Even if the ballers don't react negatively in the moment it must be a little worrisome at some level to see how easy it is for anyone in the stands to reach them. It's one thing for someone in the stands to get on court but a whole other thing to get on court and make contact with a baller. The security must have had an opportunity to stop him before he got to Marin but they failed.
How many times does this need to happen before the ITF takes a hard look at their security procedures at matches and makes real improvements? Does someone need to be harmed again before they make a concerted effort to protect the ballers? After incidents at three of the four majors you'd think they'd realize there's a big problem.
This particular fan is not even sprinting or even jogging around the court - he's moving around with ease. This is not acceptable. At all.
[Photo(s): Getty, AP]