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Laver Cup 2022: Climate change protester storms the court, lights arm on fire

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A few hours before tennis player Roger Federer would play his last ever game at the 2022 Laver Cup, a match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman was halted on Friday after a British protester stormed the field and set his arm on fire to protest the use of private jets.

A man wearing a T-shirt that reads “End UK Private Jets” ran up Center Court at the O2 Arena in London, where he set his arm on fire.

A protester is removed after invading the court with the slogan “End UK Private Jets” during the singles match between Team Europe’s Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and Team World’s Argentine Diego Schwartzman during the 2022 Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London on Sept. 23, 2022.
(GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

He quickly doused the flames on his arm before security stormed onto the field to extinguish the remaining fire and drag the man out.

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The court was not harmed by the demonstration. The man involved belongs to a group that claims that “carbon emissions by 2022 are genocide”. Reuters reported this, citing local media.

A man sets his hand on fire during protest at a match between Diego Schwartzman of Team World against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Team Europe on the first day of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London, Friday 23 September 2022.

A man sets his hand on fire during protest at a match between Diego Schwartzman of Team World against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Team Europe on the first day of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London, Friday 23 September 2022.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The protester “has been arrested and the situation is being handled by the police,” Laver Cup organizers said in a statement.

“It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what this is about. I’ve never seen an incident like this in court. I hope he’s okay,” Tsitsipas said of the incident. through SkySports.

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“I wanted to continue the game without minor changes to the pitch and make sure it was playable, especially that area. It also got in the way of my viewing experience, the way I saw the pitch later. There was a big impression there and I just wanted to clean it up.”

A protester lights a fire in the courthouse on the first day of the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena, London, Friday 23 September 2022.

A protester lights a fire in the courthouse on the first day of the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena, London, Friday 23 September 2022.
(John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Fortunately for Tsitsipas, the incident didn’t derail his game and he defeated Schwartzman for a 6-2, 6-1 win for Team Europe at Team World.

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Federer will appear on the same pitch Friday night when he teams up with longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal in a doubles match – his final before retiring.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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