NEW YORK – An Ecuadorean tourist who stormed a U.S. Open court in search of an autograph following a match between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka was arrested, authorities said Thursday.
Damian Proano, of Quito, was awaiting arraignment Thursday in criminal court on charges of wrongly being on a playing area of a major venue sporting event, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
Proano raced onto the court at the Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday evening just after the match had ended and while Djokovic, the tournament favorite, and Wawrinka were still there, prosecutors said. He was grabbed by security and was arrested, they said.
No information was available on whether Proano had an attorney, and there was no telephone number associated with his address in Quito.
Brown said that it was possible Proano, 40, was just an overzealous fan but it's important to be cautious, recalling how in 1993 tennis pro Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by a spectator during a match in Hamburg, Germany.
"There is no such thing as being too careful," Brown said in a news release.
Djokovic was leading 6-4, 6-1, 3-1 when Wawrinka ended the match because of illness. Wawrinka said he had been sick for three days and didn't want to risk worsening his condition before a Swiss Davis Cup match next week.
Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinals and was to face Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Andy Roddick, on Thursday.
Brown said the law prohibiting interference with a professional sporting event was passed by the City Council in 2003, after Calvin Klein walked out onto the basketball court during a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden to speak with player Latrell Sprewell.