WIMBLEDON (Reuters) – Two pranksters breached Wimbledon security Thursday and started an impromptu tennis match on Center Court only moments after women’s fourth seed Monica Seles had departed.
The men, dressed in white, jumped from the stands and began playing tennis on the revered grass court before being led away by security guards, much to the amusement of the crowd.
But the incident brought back memories of the horrific 1993 court-side stabbing incident in Hamburg involving Seles.
“We are treating this matter very seriously,” an All England Club spokesman said in a statement. “It was extremely irresponsible. We will obviously be reviewing security procedures.”
Seles was stabbed by a fanatical fan of Steffi Graf during a match against Magdelena Maleeva, forcing her out of the game for more than two years.
The American had just completed her second-round match against Rossana Neffa-De Los Rios when two men appeared.
Asked about the incident during her post match conference: she tensed and said: “I couldn’t comment, I didn’t see it.”
A club spokesman told Reuters he suspected the men were the same pranksters who had pulled similar tricks at the Lord’s cricket ground in London and posed with the Manchester United soccer team for a photo last year. The man involved in the latter incident was Carl Power.
Seles said Tuesday that the Hamburg incident was still with her.
“That made me the person I am,” she had told reporters.
“Certain things you cannot forget. That changed the course of my career.
“There’s no need to go back there, day in, day out, to revisit that.”