‘Tense’ French Open ex­pected af­ter Manch­ester bomb­ing

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PARIS: Se­cu­rity wor­ries could cre­ate a tense at­mos­phere at the French Open this year af­ter a bomb at­tack on a Bri­tish con­cert hall killed 22 peo­ple, French tennis player Lu­cas Pouille said on Tues­day.

Mon­day’s at­tack in Manch­ester, claimed by Is­lamic State, raised con­cerns about safety at big events world­wide.

Paris po­lice chief Michel Delpuech said French au­thor­i­ties were look­ing at se­cu­rity at cul­tural and sports events, in­clud­ing the French Open which starts on Sun­day at the Roland Gar­ros sta­dium in Paris.

Pouille, voic­ing out­rage at the Manch­ester at­tack, said he be­lieved se­cu­rity would be stepped up at Roland Gar­ros this year.

He said he didn’t usu­ally think about whether he felt safe on court. “But when some­thing like that hap­pens, you think about it, you think Roland will be a bit tense, that the at­mos­phere will ... not be like usual,” he said in an in­ter­view with Reuters Tele­vi­sion.

“Se­cu­rity will have to do its job and be well or­gan­ised so that peo­ple are safe,” he said.

Pouille, 23, was speak­ing at the launch of a mar­ket­ing cam­paign for Evian min­eral wa­ter. Pouille, Amer­i­can player Madi­son Keys and for­mer World No 1 Maria Shara­pova at­tended the event as “am­bas­sadors” for the brand.

While Pouille, ranked 17th in the world, and Madi­son spoke of their hopes for the Paris Open, Maria was re­fused a wild card for the tour­na­ment.

Maria posed for pho­tos at the evian launch on the rooftop of a Paris depart­ment store, but or­gan­is­ers de­clined a re­quest to in­ter­view her.

Asked if she felt there needed to be tighter se­cu­rity at Roland Gar­ros in the wake of the Manch­ester at­tack, Madi­son said: “I am sure that the or­gan­i­sa­tion and ev­ery­one in charge is go­ing to do ev­ery­thing they can and I trust that they know what they are do­ing.”

She said she “def­i­nitely” felt safe when tak­ing part in ma­jor tour­na­ments. “I go through se­cu­rity just as ev­ery­one else so I know they are do­ing what they can,” she said.

Madi­son, who missed the Aus­tralian open in Jan­uary af­ter wrist surgery, said her wrist was feel­ing much bet­ter.

The 22-year-old, who is ranked 13th in the world, said her goal for Roland Gar­ros this year was “to feel good on the court and feel con­fi­dent in match­play again.” Her long-term goals were to be “in the top five and win a grand slam.” Reuters

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