Climate protester with 'end UK private jets' t-shirt interrupts Laver Cup by setting arm ablaze
The unidentified man pulled the stunt right before Roger Federer played his last match while pairing with his longtime rival Rafael Nadal
LONDON, ENGLAND: A tennis match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman during the Laver Cup came to an abrupt halt after a climate change protester set his arm on fire. The incident occurred on Friday, September 23 right before Roger Federer played his last match while pairing with his longtime rival Rafael Nadal.
According to the New York Post, the man was quickly dragged off the court unharmed as the match resumed shortly thereafter. The protester, who is yet to be identified, pulled off the stunt at London’s O2 Arena. Several fan-made videos quickly made their way to Twitter where the man can be seen interrupting the match. In the clips that surfaced, one staff member can be seen taking his blazer off and putting it over the fire before stomping on it.
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The man was reportedly protesting about the use of private jets in Britain. The protester wore a shirt that said “End UK private jets.” The shirt also included a web address leading to a site about climate inaction. According to Fox Sports, the video shot by spectators showed the man storming onto the court with a lighter in his hand. The man then sits down by the net and pours liquid on his right arm setting fire to it. In the video, the flames can be seen erupting off his arm before he starts shaking it to extinguish it.
Tsitsipas, who defeated Schwartzman, according to Fox Sports, said, “It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what it’s all about. I never had an incident like this happen on-court, so I hope he’s all right.” A small fire also developed on the tarmac after some of the liquid splashed on the court.
A man has set his arm on fire after invading the court at the Laver Cup on Roger Federer's last day as a professional tennis player. pic.twitter.com/g0LcBU8PeJ— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) September 23, 2022
According to the New York Post, the commentator of the incident said, “We’ve got an interloper on the court” adding, “Security in black sport coats is out to protect.” The publication reported that the website according to screenshots from Twitter read, “Today, I entered the field because I can no longer take the risk of doing nothing in the face of the climate emergency.”
According to Reuters, a Laver Cup official said, “A man accessed the court this afternoon and was promptly removed by security” adding, “Play was stopped briefly, he has been arrested and the situation is being handled by the police."
This is not the first time when a protestor interrupted a high-profile tennis event. The French Open semi-final between Casper Ruud and Marin Čilić was suspended when a woman ran onto the Roland Garros court. She tied herself to the net with a shirt that read “we have 1028 days left."