A protester stormed the court at Roger Federer’s final match before retirement.
The demonstrator took to the court at London’s 02 Arena during a match at the 2022 Laver Cup. The tournament hit the headlines this week after Federer, one of the most decorated tennis player in history, announced that it would be his final professional match before retiring.
The protester was taken off the court shortly before the tennis player began his doubles match with long-time tennis rival Rafa Nadal. A dramatic moment involving fire also drew more attention to the situation.
What happened on court before Roger Federer’s final match?
The unnamed protester stormed the court inside the makeshift tennis court inside the 02 Arena during a match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman. It happened after the first set was finished between the two players.
Tsitsipas said of the situation: “It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what it’s all about. I never had an incident like this happen on-court, so I hope he’s all right.” The player went onto win the match in two sets.
Shortly after entering the playing area, the demonstrator appeared to pour a liquid over his arm and set fire to it with a lighter. He then extinguished the fire himself by vigoriously shaking his arm.
He was removed from court by security and was held by the security team after the incident. He did not appear to have any lasting injuries from the fire.
What was he protesting against?
The protester entered the court wearing a t-shirt with the slogan ‘End UK Private Jets’ on the front. It is believed that he is a member of the campaign group Sacrifice for Survival.
Sacrifice for Survival is a group campaigning for measure to protect against the climate crisis. Activists from the group have previously set themselves on fire to halt flights in the UK.
When is Federer playing his last match?
All eyes are on the Laver Cup tournament in London following Federer’s retirement announcement. The highly-decorated tennis player made the announcement earlier this week that he would be retiring from professional tennis, with his Laver Cup doubles appearance marking his final match.
Despite the protest taking place during the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman, it caused a delay to the proceedings. The two players eventually came back onto court and finished their match.
Federer is due on court with his doubles partner Nadal at 8:20pm on Friday 23 September. However, this may be pushed until 9pm for to make time for the disruption.