The Arthur Ashe Stadium witnessed a disruption at the US Open as climate activists, wearing “End Fossil Fuels” shirts staged a protest during the second set of the match between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova. The demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion group caused a delay in the game, with at least one protester using adhesive to secure their shoes to the ground, adding to the challenge of their removal.
The disruption unfolded as the protesters unfurled banners and slogans, drawing cheers from fans as police officers arrived to remove them from the stadium. This protest is part of a broader trend of environmental activists targeting sporting events, causing interruptions and delays.
The protest led to a delay of over 35 minutes, with play suspended for nearly an hour. During this time, Coco Gauff, who initially sat on the sidelines and enjoyed fruit from a plastic container, took the opportunity to practice serves and eventually headed to the locker room with her opponent, Karolina Muchova.
This incident at the US Open follows a pattern of disruptions at major sporting events. In July, Wimbledon matches were similarly interrupted by environmental activists who scattered orange confetti and jigsaw pieces on an outside court. Other sporting events, including The British Open golf championship, The Ashes, and the World Snooker Championship, have also faced protests.
Sports stars have expressed their concerns about such interruptions. British No. 1 Katie Boulter, whose Wimbledon match was affected, described it as “a shock to the system” and “a really unfortunate situation for everyone.”
Activists’ Defiant Message
Despite dividing opinion with their tactics, the activists behind these high-profile protests remain steadfast in their mission. Wimbledon was interrupted by a retired teacher who stressed the severity of the climate crisis, saying, “Scientists are predicting future food shortages, mass migration, and conflict. Forget strawberries & cream. This is a crisis, and a crisis reaction is necessary.”