The climate change protester literally caught the heat on the first day of the Laver Cup ahead of the second set between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman on Friday. The man set fire to the O2 Arena court and set his hand on fire.
The protester was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt with “End of UK Private Jets” written in black. He ran onto the court and quickly sat down by the net before pulling out a lighter and starting a fire on the surface of the court. His right hand caught fire and he tried to put it out. As soon as he did that, he sat crosswise as the guards ran after him.
“A man walked onto the court this afternoon and was immediately removed by security,” Laver Cup said in a statement. “The game was briefly stopped, he is arrested, the situation is under police control.”
According to The Guardian, his hand may not have caught fire by accident.
The protester is believed to be representing Sacrifice for Survival, a climate emergency protest initiative in which activists previously set themselves on fire every day to stop flights between locations in the United Kingdom. reads their report.
It was an unusual moment and everyone, including the players, was taken by surprise.
“It came out of nowhere, I have no idea what it is” Tsitsipas said. “I’ve never had similar incidents on the court, so I hope he’s all right.”
There was a short delay while the yard was being cleaned. Tsitsipas talked to the referee for a while to make sure play could be restarted safely.
“I wanted to continue the match without any minor changes on the court and make sure it was playable, especially in that area,” he said. “It also interfered with my viewing as I saw the court later. There was a big mark there and I just wanted it to be cleared up.”
Tsitsipas ended the evening with a victory over Shvartsman with a score of 6:2, 6:1. One of the spectators of the terrible incident was Roger Federer, who was sitting on the court with his team. Swiss veteranin doubles competitions alongside longtime rival Rafael Nadal.