Part of complete coverage on
French Open champion Nadal 'scared' by on-court protester
June 10, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
- Rafael Nadal praises security staff after protester invades tennis court
- A masked man holding a lit flare interrupted Sunday's French Open final
- Nadal beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer to win his eighth Roland Garros title
- The protester was reportedly campaigning against same-sex marriage
(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal has admitted to feeling "scared" when a masked protester ran onto court brandishing a flare during Sunday's French Open final, briefly disrupting the Spaniard's bid for a record-breaking victory.
Nadal, who became the first male tennis player to win one grand slam eight times, praised the contribution of security staff who quickly removed the individual late in the second set of his 6-3 6-2 6-3 success against compatriot David Ferrer.
CNN affiliate BFM reported the men were part of a group called Printemps Francais, or French Spring, which is opposed to the French government's decision to make same-sex marriage legal last month.
A second shirtless man was hustled away before he could make it onto the court.
Nadal clinches 8th French Open
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning match point against David Ferrer of Spain during the men's singles final match of the French Open at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, on Sunday, June 9. Nadal won 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Photos: The French Open: Men's singles final
Williams wins 2nd French Open title
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates match point against Maria Sharapova of Russia during their women's singles final match of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris on Saturday, June 8. Williams won 6-4, 6-4.
Photos: The French Open: Women's singles final
Read: Serena battles to French Open glory
"I was a little bit scared in the beginning because I didn't see, everything is very quick out there," the 27-year-old told CNN.
"I saw somebody coming with some fire so I was a little bit scared. These things are impossible to predict.
"I can just say thank you very much to all of the security guys, they did amazing work and I really felt safe immediately."
The incident evoked memories of when Monica Seles was stabbed in the back during the 1993 Hamburg Masters.
In 2009, a spectator also ran onto the court at Roland Garros and attempted to put a red hat on Roger Federer's head during the final.
Sunday's win extended Nadal's run at the clay-court grand slam to 59 wins and just one defeat, which came against Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round four years ago.
Read: The grand slam that got away
After clinching the title in 2012, Nadal was out of action for seven months due to a right knee injury.
"A lot of people helped me a lot and supported me a lot," the world 12-time grand slam winner said.
"I received hundreds of messages which gave me a lot of positive energy. Thank you very much to everybody who supported me, because of them I have this trophy."
Meanwhile, Dutch player Yannick Ebbinghaus has been banned for six months and fined $10,000 after illegally betting on matches 67 times between May 2012 and February 2013.
The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) prohibits players from directly or indirectly placing wagers on matches.
Three months of the ban is suspended pending "anti-corruption education training" and $5,000 of Ebbinghaus' fine could be returned if the 23-year-old -- ranked 1,158th in the world -- cooperates with the TIU.
Russia's world No. 806 Sergei Krotiouk, 34, last week received a lifelong ban for match-fixing.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.