The Laver Cup singles match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Diego Schwartzman had to be halted after an intruder ran onto the court and tried to set himself on fire. Harrowing video footage showed the man's right arm on fire as he screamed in pain. Security quickly scrambled to put out the fire and remove him from the court
Play resumed in the second match of the day at the O2 Arena in London on Friday after that. Officials conducted a rapid inspection and found that no damage had been done to the playing surface. However, onlookers were left shocked as they watched the entire incident unfold in front of their eyes.
The protester brought a flare onto the court and attempted to burn his own arm on fire, according to witnesses in the audience, who promptly posted about it on social media. The bizarre moment unfolded after a man suddenly ran onto the court and then tried to set himself on fire.
It is believed that the intruder was a climate protester as his t-shirt bore the slogan 'End UK Private Jets'.
As the audience watched the man, he tried to set himself on fire but within seconds he seemed to be in major pain as he squirmed to brush the flames from his skin. Fortunately for him, the man was able to prevent the fire from spreading throughout his body.
Then, surprisingly, he sat motionless while security rushed to the area and grabbed him. The spectators struggled to process what they had just witnessed as the man was taken off the court.
Crowd in Shock
The man was then taken off the court. According to reports he has been arrested and police are questioning him as a major tragedy was avoided. Tennis reporter Uche Amako tweeted: "Dramatic scenes moments ago at the Laver Cup as a protester got onto the court, sat down and set something on fire. He was wearing a shirt which said 'End UK private jets'..."
Despite the crowd being reduced to stunned silence Oliver Brown, the Chief Sports writer for The Telegraph said the European captain wasn't fazed: "Staggering picture from EPA 's Andy Rain of a protestor who has just his arm on fire on court here at the Laver Cup. Bjorn Borg as impassive as ever in the background."
The Laver Cup began today and will continue through Sunday at London's O2 Arena. In a great tennis extravaganza, Team Europe competes against The World in the event.
This year's edition has special importance as it will be tennis legend Roger Federer's final ATP match after he declared his intention to retire from the sport last week.
Federer and Rafael Nadal will take on Americans Francis Tiafoe and Jack Sock in a men's doubles match tonight.