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Heightened sense of nervousness at this year's French Open

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Roland Garros not taking security lightly for French Open (1:12)

ESPN senior writer Greg Garber explains the measures Roland Garros is taking to ensure safety at the French Open. (1:12)

PARIS -- The French Open has been the sleepy Slam.

Roland Garros, where the tournament is played, is a 21-acre venue in the southwest corner of Paris that, since 1928, has featured the best red-clay tennis courts in the world, pristine gardens and the quaint, casual air of another era.

Laissez-faire, a French term for "hands off," was the perfect description for Roland Garros -- until a year ago.

When a selfie-seeking fan jumped out of the stands on the first day and accosted Roger Federer on Court Philippe Chatrier, it left lingering questions about the French Tennis Federation's security protocols. (Similar incidents involving trespassing fans happened during a Federer match in 2013 and a doubles match in 2009.)

Then last November, terrorist attacks at Stade de France in suburban Saint-Denis and at restaurants and a music venue in central Paris resulted in 137 deaths. Concerns ratcheted up again in March after attacks in nearby Belgium, and again this week when an EgyptAir flight left the Paris area's Charles de Gaulle Airport, bound for Cairo, and disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning.

The 2016 French Open is the first major international sporting event held in Paris since those events. Saturday, the day before the main draw was scheduled to begin, Roland Garros looked like a fortress. Entering the grounds has become far more time-consuming and complicated.

There were groups of gendarmes wearing machine guns outside the venue. There were longer lines for spectators and media members who are required to open their bags, pass through metal detectors and, for the first time, undergo pat-downs by security guards before entering. Once inside, police with explosive-sniffing dogs now patrol the grounds and discreetly placed security cameras keep an eye on everything.

A year ago, the Federation made a point of saying it would not increase security in the wake of the Federer episode but, rather, deploy it in a more obvious manner. That philosophy has changed this year, says French Open director Guy Forget, the former French tennis star who has been on the job just shy of four months.

The tournament has added 25 percent more security personnel and surrounded the venue with a second perimeter of barricades, but tournament officials have steadfastly declined to say just how the extra help will be used.

Forget, speaking Saturday in an interview with ESPN.com in his Roland Garros office, said that because of recent events, no expense has been spared. He said tournament officials are trying to strike a balance between making fans feel safe without feeling security measures are oppressive.

"The things that happened in France in November were beyond the worst nightmare, as you can imagine," Forget said. "But [protecting against attacks] gets so technical and so big, I'm not competent enough to know how to deal with these issues.

"We speak to the police department and the special forces and basically say, 'Tell us what to do. Do whatever you want.' It's one aspect that you can't save money on. It always has been our priority. And it still will be. ... But you also want people to enjoy the tournament."

Forget emphasized he has the same goals for the players. He says the concerns voiced by Federer and others have been heard.

"It shouldn't have happened," Forget said of the Federer incident. "The [security] person who was there at the time maybe should have reacted differently. So the word was spread among the agents, and the agents now know they can't let that happen again."

Friday, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal emphasized they felt safe in Paris. But Serena Williams said she was aware that "a lot of players wanted a little bit more security."

Belarussian star Victoria Azarenka conceded the world sometimes seems like "a scary place" nowadays. Forget has noticed a heightened sense of nervousness around Paris in general -- not just among spectators or players coming to Roland Garros -- since the attacks.

"When people go out somewhere now, I think they are wondering, 'Oh, do we really want to go there?'" Forget said. "The Champs-Élysées probably has a little less people now, whereas before it would be just packed."

"To be honest, I don't think about it at all when I walk around Paris," he continued. "But it's sad to say [that] when I see a bag left alone on the corner, I do go, 'Ohh ...' when I'm walking around. I mean, now I'm just checking it out. I guess we all can't help but react like that."

The French government has extended the country's official state of emergency for two more months, coinciding with a series of high-profile sporting events. The French Open, which runs for 15 days and drew more than 425,000 spectators last year, is the first in a series of blockbusters that also includes the European Soccer Championship, which runs for a month through July 10, and the venerable Tour de France.

Saturday, a reporter visiting Roland Garros encountered no fewer than five security guards on the way to the main entrance -- at least three more than a year ago. When American teenager Frances Tiafoe attempted to saunter through security, he was stopped and asked to display the contents of the plastic bag he was carrying. However, there are still kinks: The next bag through, large and bulky and made of canvas, was merely patted and released.

Late Friday, the Roland Garros press office sent out a global note to journalists, chiding some for skipping compulsory passing points and jumping barriers. Future infringements of the rules, the note concluded, could result in accreditation being revoked.

But after every last precaution is taken, Forget admitted, there is a point in which hope takes over.

"You can't stop living," Forget said. "You just have to hope not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time."