shocking | 

Protester sets himself on fire in front of stunned tennis fans at Laver Cup

It was not instantly clear what the protest was about, but it appears he was a climate change activist wearing a t-shirt which read: “End UK Private Jets”.

Fan protest at Laver Cup in London© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Tennis fans in London were stunned after a protester ran from the crowd and set his arm alight on the opening day of the Laver Cup in London.

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal among the star names looking on, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman saw their match halted as security officials rushed to remove the protester at the 02 Arena.

A stunned hush enveloped the sold out stadium, as officials carried the protester out of the venue, with play resuming soon after, even though the court also being momentarily set alight in the incident,

It was not instantly clear what the protest was about, but it appears he was a climate change activist wearing a t-shirt which read: “End UK Private Jets.”

The dramatic affair did leave the world number six stunned like everyone else inside the O2 in London.

“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.

The Laver Cup is a celebration of team tennis and this year, it is providing a stage for Federer to make his final appearance before retirement.

The tournament got underway on Friday, with Casper Ruud edging out Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 10-7 to put Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe 1-0 up against Team World, led by captain John McEnroe.

World number two Ruud initially proved too strong for the American, but Sock was able to get back on level terms – following some partisan support from the Team World bench – to force a 10-point tie-breaker to decide the opener.

There, Norwegian Ruud recovered from trailing 3-0 to triumph, much to the delight of the O2 crowd and his watching team-mates, with a fine forehand winner clinching the first point of the Ryder Cup-style team competition.


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