A security guard blocks a man who approached Rafael Nadal of Spain, right, after his quarterfinals win over Gael Monfils of France at the U.S. Open.
Announcing the charges today, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said there "is zero tolerance for spectators who fail to conduct themselves responsibly at sporting events. What is particularly disturbing in this case is that the defendant actually made bodily contact with a player."
Police arrested Noam Aorta, 23, for "interference with a sporting event."
When Nadal finished beating Gael Monfils, the spectator ran out of the stands and approached the Spanish star on the sideline before security guards intervened. It's the latest in a series of similar episodes at major tennis events, including when a man went up to Roger Federer during the French Open final and tried to place a hat on his head.
"For me, it wasn't a problem. The guy was really nice," Nadal said. "He said, 'I love you,' and he kissed me."
Brown had a less romantic take. Though he noted that while the defendant might possibly have been simply an overzealous fan, 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,” said the district attorney.