Laver Cup protester sets court, arm on fire, delays match

Sep 22, 2022, 9:45 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2022, 10:12 am
A man sets fire on his hand during protest at a match Team World's Diego Schwartzman against Team E...

A man sets fire on his hand during protest at a match Team World's Diego Schwartzman against Team Europe's Stefanos Tsitsipas on day one of the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 in London, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

LONDON (AP) — A protester lit a portion of the court and his arm on fire during a match at the Laver Cup tennis event Friday, hours before Roger Federer was scheduled to play for the final time before retiring.

The episode briefly delayed the action at the start of the second set of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ 6-2, 6-1 victory for Team Europe over Diego Schwartzman of Team World at the O2 Arena.

The activist, carrying a lighter and wearing a white T-shirt with a message about private jets, made his way onto the black court and sat down near the net. The person eventually was carried away by security guards.

“It came out of nowhere. … I never had an incident like this happen on court,” Tsitsipas, the runner-up at the 2021 French Open, said afterward. “I hope he’s all right.”

Tsitsipas spoke to the chair umpire to make sure it would be safe to continue to play and asked that a mark left on the court be cleaned up.

The protester “has been arrested and the situation is being handled by the police,” Laver Cup organizers said in a statement.

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, was slated to compete hours later Friday, teaming up with longtime rival Rafael Nadal in a doubles match.

The 41-year-old Federer hasn’t played an official match since Wimbledon in July 2021 and is ending his playing career after a series of operations on his right knee.

There have been other instances of high-profile tennis matches being interrupted in recent years, including during the 2009 final at Roland Roland Garros, when a man went up to Federer and tried to put a hat on his head.

At this year’s French Open, in June, a protester wearing a T-shirt with the message “We have 1028 days left” interrupted the men’s semifinal between Casper Ruud and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic by attaching herself to the net with metal wires and glue and kneeling on the court.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani flies out during the first inning of the team's baseball game agai...
Associated Press

Ohtani vs. Judge the latest of baseball’s great MVP races

When Shohei Ohtani is pitching impressively and hitting over 30 homers, he might always be the MVP favorite unless another player in his league comes up with something awfully special. Like hitting 60 home runs, for example. Ohtani vs. Aaron Judge for the American League MVP figures to be the most hotly debated postseason award […]
1 day ago
Chase Elliott (9) has his tire catch fire as Martin Truex Jr. (19) and Corey LaJoie (7) drive past ...
Associated Press

Tumultuous, tiring start to NASCAR’s round of 12 at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Chase Elliott was leading at Texas when a right rear tire issue led to hard contact with the wall and a fiery finish to his day, knocking him from the top of the playoff standings. After the caution lights came on when another front-running car had tire problems, Denny Hamlin […]
1 day ago
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) is helped off the field after suffering a leg injur...
Associated Press

Analysis: Backups, be ready. NFL’s QB carousel is spinning

The NFL’s quarterback carousel may start spinning a bit faster. Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Allen got banged-up Sunday. Justin Herbert and Jameis Winston played hurt. Already, Dak Prescott and Trey Lance have gone down. Backups, be ready. Jones’ leg injury appears most serious. The second-year pro hopped off the field late in the […]
1 day ago
Kansas tight end Trevor Kardell (45) is chased by Duke defensive back Joshua Pickett (26) as he run...
Associated Press

AP Top 25 Reality Check: Unbeaten Kansas left out again

Not quite, Kansas. A 4-0 start put the Jayhawks atop the others receiving votes pile Sunday in The Associated Press college football poll presented by Regions Bank, 41 points behind No. 25 Kansas State. The Jayhawks have not been ranked since mid-October 2009, a dry spell of nearly 13 years that is currently the longest […]
1 day ago
California running back Jaydn Ott, left, runs the ball for a 73-yard touchdown against Arizona duri...
Associated Press

STAT WATCH: Ott’s 274 yards rushing for Cal FBS season high

California freshman Jaydn Ott turned in the best rushing performance of the season with 274 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries against Arizona. Ott had TD runs of 73, 72 and 18 yards Saturday while running for the most yards since Tyrion Davis-Price of LSU went for 287 on 36 carries against Florida […]
1 day ago
United States' Ariel Atkins shoots at goal as South Korea's Kim Danbi , left, attempts to block dur...
Associated Press

US has record performance in 145-69 rout of South Korea

SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson and the U.S. put on quite a show, breaking the World Cup scoring mark in a record rout of South Korea. Brionna Jones scored 24 points and Wilson added 20 to help the U.S. beat South Korea 145-69 on Monday. Shakira Austin’s layup with 9 seconds left helped the Americans […]
1 day ago
Laver Cup protester sets court, arm on fire, delays match