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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 set his arm on fire to protest the use of private jets.
A man wearing a T-shirt that said “End UK Private Jets” ran up Center Court at the O2 Arena in London where he set his arm on fire.
He quickly extinguished the flames on his arm before security rushed onto the court to put out the remaining fire and drag the man out.
The court was not damaged in the demonstration. The man involved belongs to a group that claims that “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 about. I’ve never had an incident like this on the court. I hope he’s okay,” Tsitsipas said of the incident, via Sky Sports.
“I wanted to continue the match without having small changes to the court and make sure that it is playable, especially that area. It also hindered my way of seeing experience, how I saw the court afterwards. There was a big mark. there and I just wanted to explain it.”
Fortunately for Tsitsipas, the incident did not derail his game and he defeated Schwartzman for a 6-2, 6-1 win for Team Europe over Team World.
Federer will appear on the same court on Friday evening when he partners long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal in a doubles match – his final before retiring.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.