Protester sets himself on fire in middle of Laver Cup match

Play in Friday’s Laver Cup match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman was interrupted as a protester went on the court and set himself on fire.

The man was quickly dragged off the court unharmed and play resumed shortly thereafter. According to spectators, the man brought a flare onto London’s The 02 Arena and used it to set his arm on fire before security was able to put the fire out. One staff member took his blazer off and put it over the fire before stomping on it.

The protester was wearing a shirt that said “End UK private jets.”

Protester sets himself on fire in middle of Laver Cup match
A protester sets himself on fire at the Laver Cup in London.
AP
A protester sets himself on fire at the Laver Cup in London.
A protester sets himself on fire at the Laver Cup in London.
Action Images via Reuters

“We’ve got an interloper on the court,” the commentator said as the incident happened. “Security in black sport coats is out to protect.”

The shirt also contained a web address leading to a site about climate inaction.

“Today, I entered the field because I can no longer take the risk of doing nothing in the face of the climate emergency,” the site reads, according to a screen-grab on Twitter.

The protester gets dragged out by security.
The protester gets dragged out by security.
AP
A protester sets himself on fire at the Laver Cup in London.
A protester sets himself on fire at the Laver Cup in London.
AP

As for the match itself, the Greek Tsitsipas represented Team Europe, while Argentinian Schwartzman represented Team World. Tsistipas cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory, giving Team Europe a 2-0 advantage over Team World.

This isn’t the first protest at a high-profile tennis event this year. The French Open semifinal between Casper Ruud and Marin Čilić was suspended when a woman ran onto the Roland Garros court and tied herself to the net with a shirt that read “we have 1028 days left”.

This year’s edition of the Laver Cup will also be the last match of Roger Federer’s legendary career. He and longtime rival Rafael Nadal will pair together in a doubles match on Friday, teamed up against Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

The protester gets dragged out by security.
The protester gets dragged out by security.
AP
The protester gets dragged out by security.
The protester gets dragged out by security.
AP

“For as long as we battled together, having had always this respect for one another, our families, coaching teams, for us as well to go through a career we both have had, come out the other side and have a nice relationship, is maybe a great message to tennis and beyond,” Federer said of teaming with Nadal.

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