Fathers' rights campaigners try to play tennis with Federer at Wimbledon
Fathers For Justice Strikes Again

Publisher:  Jon Land
Published: 05/07/2006 - 17:11:23 PM 
Fathers' rights campaigner invades <br/> Wimbledon's Centre Court (Pic: PA)
Fathers' rights campaigner invades
Wimbledon's Centre Court (Pic: PA)

Two fathers' rights campaigners were arrested at Wimbledon today after attempting to play tennis alongside Swiss ace Roger Federer.

The men, both wearing T-Shirts with a version of the Wimbledon logo with Family Law It's a Racket emblazoned across it, came onto Centre Court during the defending champion's match against Mario Ancic of Croatia.

One served a tennis ball towards the Royal Box while the other stood on the opposite side of the net before security men rushed onto court and ushered them off shortly after 3pm.

The men - Simon Wright, 30, from Brighton, and Alan Jamieson, 41, from Manchester - said they were both members of Real Fathers 4 Justice, a breakaway group from Fathers 4 Justice.

Before being led away, Wright said: "There have been 20 family law court cases and still I don't get to see my child and this is what I have had to resort to."

Jamieson said: "I don't get to see my children."

A police spokesman confirmed the men had been arrested.

"Two persons tried to disrupt play and they were swiftly arrested," he said.

This is the second incident in just two days.

Yesterday, 29-year-old streaker Sander Lantinga from Berkhout, Noord-Holland, in the Netherlands, received a caution after stripping off on Centre Court and doing a cartwheel close to Russian star Maria Sharapova.

A spokesman from the All England Club said more permanent security measures could be put into place if similar antics continued.

"It will be a shame if the antics of a few selfish idiots were to ruin it for everyone else in the future and that it meant we may have to put more permanent measures in place to prevent people gaining access to the court," she said. "Clearly, we hope this will not be the case."

She added: "The security operation at Wimbledon starts outside the grounds with the X-ray searching of bags, electronic detector arches and body searching. Inside the grounds, while always the subject of close scrutiny, it is a tough compromise between containment and allowing the great views and closeness to the action that spectators have traditionally enjoyed.

"In this case, it was quickly apparent that the individuals posed no threat to the players or the public and the incident was dealt with summarily and swiftly."