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Protester sets fire to himself ahead of Roger Federer's final tennis match

Dominic Smithers

Published 
| Last updated 

Protester sets fire to himself ahead of Roger Federer's final tennis match

A protester had to be dragged away after he set himself on fire ahead of Roger Federer's final tennis match. See him being dragged off court:

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The man managed to get onto the court at the O2 Arena in London yesterday (23 September) during Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman match of the Laver Cup.

Footage shared on social media showed the protester sitting in the middle of the court and lighting a fire.

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His arm then quickly sets a light before the man manages to extinguish it and a group of security guards run onto the court to drag him away.

The protester, who was seen wearing a t-shirt which read ‘End UK Private Jets’ at the time was later arrested over the dangerous stunt.

The protester set himself on fire ahead of Roger Federer's final match. Credit: PA
The protester set himself on fire ahead of Roger Federer's final match. Credit: PA

While the drama didn't prevent Tsitsipas from winning his match 6-1, 61 to put Team Europe up in the Ryder Cup-style tournament, speaking after his match, the Greek player said it was shocking.

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He said: "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.

"I wanted to proceed the match without having any minor changes to the court and to make sure it was playable, especially that area. It also got in my way of viewing experience, the way I saw the court later.

"There was a big mark over there and I just wanted to get it cleared up."

A spokesperson for the Laver Cup said: "A man accessed the court this afternoon and was promptly removed by security.

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"Play was stopped briefly, he has been arrested and the situation is being handled by the police."

He was dragged away by security. Credit: PA
He was dragged away by security. Credit: PA

Metropolitan Police later confirmed that the protester had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and that the man's injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

A spokesperson for the Met said: "At around 1625hrs on Friday, 23 September, a man entered a tennis court at the O2 Arena and set fire to his arm. Security staff extinguished the fire.

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"The man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass. He has been taken to hospital as a precaution; his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing."

Following his doubles match with Rafa Nadal, Federer said it was the perfect way to say goodbye to the sport he has dominated for the past 20 years.

Federer retired from professional tennis. Credit: PA
Federer retired from professional tennis. Credit: PA

Standing on court, he said: "Look, it has been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time.

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"Everything was the last time. Funny enough with all the matches, being with the guys and having family and friends, I didn’t feel the stress so much even if I felt something would go during the match. I am so glad I made it through and the match was great. I couldn’t be happier.

"Of course playing with Rafa on the same team, having all the guys here, the legends, Rocket (Rod Laver), Stefan Edberg, thank you.

"It does feel like a celebration to me. I wanted to feel like this at the end and it is exactly what I hoped for so thank you.

"It has been a perfect journey and I would do it all over again…"

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, Sport, London

Dominic Smithers
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