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Just hours before tennis great Roger Federer was set to play his final match ever at the 2022 Laver Cup, a match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman was halted on Friday after a British protester stormed the court and lit his arm on fire to protest the use of private jets.
A man wearing a T-shirt that read “End UK Private Jets” ran onto Center Court at the O2 Arena in London where he proceeded to light his arm on fire.
He quickly put the flames out on his arm before security rushed onto the court to extinguish the remaining fire and drag the man out.
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The court was not damaged in the demonstration. The man involved belongs to a group that claims “carbon emissions in 2022 are genocide,” Reuters reported, citing local media.
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 all about. I never had an incident like this happen on court. I hope he is all right,” Tsitsipas said of the incident, through Sky Sports.
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“I wanted to proceed the match without having any minor changes to the court and to make sure it was playable, especially that area. It also got in my way of viewing experience, the way I saw the court later. There was a big mark over there and I just wanted to get it cleared up.”
Thankfully for Tsitsipas, the incident did not derail his game and he overcame Schwartzman for 6-2, 6-1 victory for Team Europe over Team World.
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Federer will make an appearance on the same court Friday evening when he partners with longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal in a double’s match – his final before retiring.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.