FÜRTH, June 3, 2016
The Franken Challenge in Fürth is one of the longest established tournaments on the ATP Challenger Tour, but what happened last Tuesday was definetely a premiere in the history of the event. An about two metres long snake made it to the courts while Julian Reister and Caio Zampieri were warming up for their first round encounter.
The reptile, which most likely was a grass snake, appeared close to the baseline, creeping over the red clay. The players didn’t recognize the animal but the spectators called attention and shouted: “Stop!”.
“I received a call and hurried to the court. No one wanted to touch the snake, so I got closer but had the jitters, as there are a lot of venomous snakes in my home country in South Africa,” tournament director André Zietsman told.
He and the groundkeeper of the TV Fürth 1860 caught the snake with a broomstick and a plastic bag and eventually abandoned the animal in a forest area close to the venue.
Here is the video:
“This is the tournament’s 38th edition this year, but something like that has never happened before,” Zietsman stated.
After this incident the match could finally start. Reister defeated the Brazilian qualifer 7-6, 6-4 in about 90 minutes of play.