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Man accused of stalking tennis star at U.S. Open

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A German man who police said has been stalking Serena Williams for more than a year was arrested outside the National Tennis Center Friday afternoon.

Albrecht Stromeyer, 34, from Frankfurt, Germany was picked up just outside the U.S. Open by Officer Michael Esposito of the 75th Precinct, who was assigned to the event, police said.

Stromeyer was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on three counts of stalking and was being held on Rikers Island on $3,000 bail, although prosecutors had sought $50,000 bail, authorities said.

Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenore Gerald imposed an order of protection that forbids Stromeyer from contacting Williams, the Women’s Tennis Association or the U.S. Tennis Association.

At the request of the Queens district attorney’s office, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has ordered Stromeyer detained if he or anyone else posts his bail, according to the Queens district attorney.

If convicted, he faces a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

“The defendant is alleged to have followed Ms. Williams on numerous occasions to tennis tournaments in Europe and the United States, to have attempted to contact her repeatedly against her wishes and to have acted in a manner that caused her to fear for her safety,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

According to the charges, Stromeyer tried numerous times to contact Carlos Fleming, one of Williams’ agents, through e-mails and telephone calls from Sept. 1 through Nov. 14, 2001 and declare his infatuation for the tennis star.

The charges also allege six other incidents, including one in March in which he was charged with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure in Scottsdale, Ariz. when he undressed at the front desk of a resort after he asked to see Williams and was turned down.

He was also arrested inside the Women’s Tennis Association tournament area in Rome in May.

Esposito recognized Stromeyer from a photo that was given to police by Fleming. Esposito brought Stromeyer, who was watching Williams practice through a fence, to the USTA security office where he was positively identified from the picture, the DA said.

Williams played her first match since the arrest Saturday and, after a six-hour rain delay, easily defeated Daja Bedanova.

When asked by a reporter if she was taking “the threat,” seriously, she said, “I get so tense and tight, so serious that I can’t relax.”

The WTA later issued a statement that Williams had misinterpreted the question, saying that she thought she was answering a question about the threat of competition at the Open.

“It’s amazing how words can get twisted around,” she said in the statement.

Before her press conference a WTA official said Williams would not answer any questions about the arrest because of legal and security reasons.

When a reporter tried to ask her about it at the end of the press conference, the official quickly jumped in and again said the questions could only pertain to the match.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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