A man wearing a T-shirt with a slogan protesting the use of private jets in the UK interrupted a match at the Laver Cup tennis exhibition at London’s O2 Arena by setting fire to his right arm while on the pitch was sitting.
The incident occurred during a break in a match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman.
The man, whose shirt read ‘end British private jets’, put out the flames on his arm himself and was… quickly removed by security, who also extinguished the small fire the protester had started on the field with some kind of flammable liquid. Stuart Fraser of the Times reports that he later saw the man lying on the floor in a backstage room.
The match was resumed after the protester was removed and the liquid cleared. Per Sky Sports’ Anthony Josephthe man was arrested on suspicion of a serious offense by the Metropolitan Police and taken to a hospital as a precaution.
“It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what this is all about. I’ve never seen an incident like this in court. I hope he’s okay,” Tsitsipas said. “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, as I later saw the court. There was a big mark there and I wanted it just clean up.”
The Laver Cup is a men’s team tournament in which a team of European players compete against players from the rest of the world. This year’s event is particularly memorable as it will be the last competitive tournament for 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, who is retiring?.
Federer, who was? sit on the right when the incident took place, he will take to court with fellow legend Rafael Nadal in a doubles match – the last of his career – starting at around 3:20 p.m. Eastern on Friday.
Earlier this year, a woman chained herself to the net during a French Open match between Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic in Paris. The woman wore a T-shirt with the message ‘we have 1028 days left’, a reference to … a UN report that said humanity risked catastrophe unless it worked to halt climate change.
The use of private jets has come under fire because of the significant environmental footprint they leave behind.