A protester sets his arm on fire during the opening session of the Laver Cup | Tennis
On the opening day of the Laver Cup at London’s O2 Arena, a protester entered the pitch and set his arm on fire during the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman.
After Tsitsipas took the first set, the protester entered the pitch wearing a shirt that read “End UK Private Jets” in all caps. After sitting inside the service box, he poured liquid on his right arm and then set his arm on fire with a lighter.
“He came out of nowhere. I have no idea what it is. I’ve never had an incident like this on the pitch, so hopefully he’s okay,” he said. said Tsitsipas, who beat Schwartzman 6-2, 6-1.
The protester eventually extinguished the fire by vigorously shaking his arm, but some of the liquid fell onto the pitch and a small fire developed on the surface of the pitch, prompting a security guard to put out the flame with his jacket.
After being ejected from the court, the protester was temporarily detained by security guards in a hallway near the entrance to the court and he does not appear to have suffered serious injuries. The protester is believed to represent Sacrifice for Survival, a climate emergency protest initiative that previously saw its activists set themselves on fire every day in a bid to stop flights between locations inside the UK United.
The match was briefly halted after the protester left as the pitch surface was cleared and Tsitsipas spoke to the referee, ensuring the pitch was in sufficient condition before agreeing to resume.
“I wanted to continue this game without making any minor changes to the pitch, and I wanted to make sure it was playable, especially in that area,” Tsitsipas said.
“It also hindered me in my visual experience of the court, the way I saw the court later. There was a big mark there, and I wanted it cleaned up so I could carry on like I did before.
Protests are not uncommon at high-profile tennis matches, including at this year’s Australian Open final between Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal when protesters jumped onto the Rod Laver Arena holding a banner that read ‘Abolish refugee detention’. At the French Open, an environmental protester tied herself to the net during the semi-final between Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic with threads and glue.
The Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-inspired team competition between Team Europe and Team World, featured many players arriving in the UK by private jet, including Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, during its pre-event promotions.