Environmental demonstrator lights own arm on fire, disrupts Laver Cup tennis match


Jenni C (Flickr)

A tennis ball and net

Alex Keeler, Reporter

Earlier today, a man protesting the use of private jets interrupted a tennis match at the Laver Cup by setting his arm on fire. 

The unforeseen incident took place during a break in the action in a match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman being held at the O2 arena in London. 

The protester, who was wearing a white T-shirt that read “end UK private jets”, sat down near the center of the court and abruptly set his arm on fire. 

The demonstrator extinguished his own arm moments after setting himself ablaze and was quickly dragged off the court by security. 

The security team also had to put out a small fire left behind on the court by soaking it with an unknown liquid. 

Following a short delay, the match would eventually resume, with Tsitsipas beating Schwartzman in straight sets. 

Organizers for the Laver Cup released a brief statement following the incident. 

“A man accessed the court this afternoon and was promptly removed by security. Play was stopped briefly, he has been arrested and the situation is being handled by the police,” the statement read. 

The use of private jets has been widely criticized by many due to the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds that the planes emit. 

“A huge amount of fuel is used during takeoff and landing of a plane, no matter how many people you have on board. So an already polluting mode of transport (commercial aviation) becomes even worse (with private jets),” said Dr. Debbie Hopkins, an expert in decarbonizing transport at the University of Oxford. 

Oddly enough, this is not the first tennis match to be interrupted by this sort of incident. 

Earlier this year, during the French Open in Paris, a woman chained herself to the net during a match between Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic, while wearing a shirt that read “we have 1028 day’s left”.  The shirt was a reference to a U.N. report that stated humanity was at a significant risk for a catastrophe unless we work to reduce climate change.  

The incident on Friday took place just hours before 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was set to play the final match of his legendary career.