Tourist Charged With Dashing Onto U.S. Open Court

By Paul DeBenedetto on September 6, 2012 4:15pm 

QUEENS — He almost got hard time for hitting the hard court.

An autograph-seeking tourist landed in cuffs Wednesday night after making a mad dash onto the court at the U.S. Open, according to the Queens DA's office.

Damien Proano, 40, of Ecuador, stormed the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium after a match in which Novak Djokovic defeated Stanislas Wawrinka, but was quickly wrangled by security, the DA's office said.

"What is particularly disturbing in this case is that the two players were still on the court when the defendant left his seat and entered the playing area," Brown said in a statement.

Proano was charged with interference with a professional sporting event, a law passed by the City Council in 2003 after Calvin Klein walked onto the floor of Madison Square Garden to talk to former Knicks forward Latrell Sprewell.

Although the fan said he was simply trying to get an autograph, Brown pointed to a 1993 incident in which a crazed fan charged a court in Germany and stabbed tennis great Monica Seles in the back.

“There is no such thing as being too careful,” Brown said in a statement.

Proano faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but was let off on the condition that he stay out of trouble for six months, Brown's office said.

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