US Open semi-final interrupted as climate protester glues feet to floor in stands | US Open Tennis 2023

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The US Open semi-final between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova was interrupted by climate protesters early in the second set, with one of the protesters glueing their feet to the floor of the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

With Gauff up a set and holding serve to open the second, a disturbance erupted in the upper reaches of the stadium and shouting began, disrupting play.

As the players looked into the stands, security flooded into the section around the disturbance. More than a dozen law enforcement officers arrived on the scene and two protesters were removed by NYPD officers.

A third, who had been handcuffed by police but was glued to the floor, remained and caused further delay to the resumption of the match.

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Forty-five minutes after the last point was played, the remaining protester was finally removed and the players, who had retreated to the dressing rooms during the disruption, returned to court.

Chants of “Kick them out! Kick them out!” had rung out across Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Photographs of the scene showed three protesters wearing shirts with the slogan, “End Fossil Fuels”.

Coco Gauff waits to get back on court.
Coco Gauff waits to get back on court. Photograph: John Angelillo/UPI/Shutterstock

Tournament director Stacey Allaster confirmed the protester had glued their bare feet to the concrete beneath the seat.

“As we’ve witnessed, we have environmental protesters up in the [grandstand] area. There were three. Two were removed.

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“We know in these events, environmental protestors use the platform. Security will be resuming along with NYPD to see what else we can do to prevent it in the future.”

The climate protest group Extinction Rebellion later claimed responsibility for the disruption.

“The climate is already more disruptive than any activists can possibly be,” said Miles Grant, Extinction Rebellion spokesperson. “Just look at the US Open and other big tennis events – year after year, the average temperatures have been rising, making it hotter and more dangerous for the players and spectators.

“At some point, there will be fewer outdoor sporting events due to excessive heat.”

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This year’s tournament has been hampered by a late summer heatwave in New York, leading world No 3 Daniil Medvedev to claim that a “player is going to die” in the oppressive conditions.

Just Stop Oil protesters interrupted play at Wimbledon in July, releasing orange ticker-tape mixed with jigsaw puzzle pieces during matches.

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