French Open semi-final interrupted as protester ties herself to tennis net
The semi-final match between Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic was interrupted as a woman entered the court before tying herself to the net – she was later carried away by officials
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A female protester interrupted a French Open semi-final match when she ran onto the tennis court and tied herself to the net.
The clash between Norway’s Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic of Croatia on Court Philippe-Chatrier was stopped for a brief period after the woman made her way onto the clay surface. It happened part way through the third set, with the match tied at one set each.
Play was suspended when the woman, wearing a white t-shirt sporting a written message which appeared to have been drawn in black ink, invaded the playing surface. After a few moments both players were taken off the court.
After a short delay, the woman was removed from the net. Photos of the incident show her then being carried away by several officials wearing suits as she lays prone in their arms. Dernière Rénovation, a group made up of French activists, said it was responsible for the interruption of the match.
Explaining the motive for the interruption of the match in a Twitter post, the organisation said it was attempting “to draw attention to the climate emergency”. The woman who entered the court, who Dernière Rénovation claimed was a 22-year-old woman named Alizée, wore a t-shirt which read: “We have 1028 days left.”
While the players were away from the court, officials took their time to carefully untie the woman from the net before she was carried away. After a delay of around 10 minutes, the players returned so the match could resume.
Tim Henman, in his role as a commentator covering the match, described the “really shocking scenes” to viewers. “She jumped on the court, sat down next to the net and seems like she’s attached herself to the net and obviously had something written on her shirt,” said the retired former British No.1.
He went on to suggest that the incident might have had an effect on Ruud and Cilic as their rhythms had been disrupted by the stoppage in play. Henman added: “It’s very horrible circumstances for the players. It’s obviously one of their biggest matches and now you’ve got an interruption midway through this third set.
“The players have rightly been taken off the court but it wasn’t as if they picked up their bags, I think they were just taken away. It’s up to the security to get things under control. But it’s not what you’re expecting. We were so shocked to see the Zverev situation and having to retire from such a big match with such a horrific injury and now we get onto the second match and we’re midway through in the third set. It’s all very unsettling for everyone.”
Ruud certainly didn’t appeared too fazed by the situation, as he dominated much of that third set to win it 6-2 and take the lead in the overall match. He also broke Cilic early in the fourth set to stamp his authority on his first ever Grand Slam semi-final.