An environmental activist wearing a T-shirt with the message “We have 1028 days left” interrupted the French Open 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.
The play was delayed for 13 minutes during a game with Ruud serving in the third set while leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-1, 15-all at Court Philippe Chatrier.
“The young woman, of French nationality, entered the grounds with a valid ticket early in the day,” the French Tennis Federation said in a statement issued after Ruud finished off his victory in four sets to reach his first Grand Slam final.
He will face 13-time French Open champion, Rafael Nadal, for the title on Sunday.
The protester remained in the court for several minutes before four security guards approached her, detached her from the net and eventually carried her away.
“The security team needed to formally identify the objects she used to get onto the court before they could remove her,” the federation said, adding that she was “handed over to the police.”
Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo looked on from near the entrance to the court and both players we escorted to the locker room during the episode.
The climate activist being carried out by security (Source: AP)
“I didn’t really know how to react to it, and … I didn’t know if she was holding anything,” Ruud said. “I didn’t get to see too much. So it was a little bit (of a) tricky and difficult situation. Never happened to me before.”
Eventually, Ruud and Cilic returned and were given three minutes to warm up before resuming their semifinal. Cilic said the disruption did not affect his level of play.
There have been other episodes involving people interrupting matches at Court Philippe Chatrier over the years.
During the 2013 men’s final, a topless man carrying a fiery flare jumped onto the court. In the 2009 final, a man went up to Roger Federer and tried to put a hat on his head. In the 2003 final, a male streaker hurdled the net.