US Open 2023: Coco Gauff says she’s not ‘upset’ by protesters who interrupted semi-final

Protesters stand up wearing 'end fossil fuels' T-shirts at US Open women's semi-final
The protesters wore T-shirts with the logo of protest group Extinction Rebellion and the slogan “End Fossil Fuels”.
Place: Flushing Meadows, New York Appointment: August 28-September 10
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US Open finalist Coco Gauff said she was not “angry” with climate protesters who interrupted her semi-final with Karolina Muchova.

Four people chanted the end of fossil fuels in the upper tier of Arthur Ashe Stadium before the second game of the second set in New York.

The contest was delayed 49 minutes at Flushing Meadows, with one of them sticking his feet to the ground.

American Gauff, 19, said protests like these are “history-defining” moments.

Security escorted three of them away, but it took longer to eliminate the fourth.

“Would I prefer this not to happen in my match? 100% yes,” Gauff said. “I’m not going to sit here and lie. But it is what it is.

“I always talk about preaching, you know, preaching about what you feel and what you believe.

“It was done peacefully so I can’t get upset. Obviously I didn’t want that to happen as I won 6-4 1-0 and I wanted to keep that going.

“But hey, if that’s what they thought they had to do to make their voice heard, I can’t really get upset.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said all four were in the custody of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

“The fourth protester fixed his bare feet on the floor of the headquarters,” the USTA said in a statement.

“Due to the nature of this action, NYPD and medical personnel were required to safely evacuate this individual from the stadium.”

Extinction Rebellion New Yorkexternal link wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Tennis as usual will not be possible on a planet where humanity fails to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

“If activists don’t disrupt these games, the climate will.”

Play stopped at 8:05 p.m. local time in New York when sixth-seeded Gauff took an early one-set lead.

While the players waited, Muchova, the Czech 10th seed, received medical treatment and Gauff practiced serving.

Gauff, who went on to win 6-4 7-5 after a thrilling finish to the match, said she predicted there might be an interruption at Flushing Meadows this weekend.

“I had a feeling this tournament was going to happen,” she said. “It happened at Roland Garros, it happened at Wimbledon, so following the trend, it was definitely going to happen here.

“I was just hoping it wasn’t my game, and honestly, I thought we did it.”

Members of the crowd expressed their frustration with the shutdown and shouted “Expel them” slogans at the protesters.

Eventually, the players were ordered off the field and into the locker room as security personnel and NYPD officers attempted to resolve the situation.

“Two of them were ejected, they left quietly without further protest,” US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster told ESPN.

‘When security officers arrived at the scene, they found that one of the protesters had physically stuck his bare feet to the cement floor.

The protesters wore T-shirts with the logo of protest group Extinction Rebellion and the slogan “End Fossil Fuels”.

Earlier this year, Just Stop Oil protesters disrupted play at Wimbledon by throwing confetti and orange puzzle pieces onto court 18.

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