Climate protestors left 'bloodied and bruised' after disrupting Murray game

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Protesters were removed from the Citi Open (Image: X / @ClimateDefiance)
Protesters were removed from the Citi Open (Image: X / @ClimateDefiance)

A group of climate activists say they sustained injuries from being thrown out of the Citi Open after disrupting Andy Murray’s match against Taylor Fritz.

Murray was beaten in three sets by the American No1 on Friday night in Washington D.C. in a match which was briefly interrupted by protestors. A group called Climate Defiance took credit for the disruption, which saw some giant tennis balls thrown onto the court from the stands.

Protesters then held up banners and chanted slogans before being ejected from the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. A video posted on social media by Climate Defiance showed one protester being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and another falling to the ground.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, the group said: “We were brutally dragged out. Multiple members of our group were bloodied up and bruised. But we will not be deterred. We will fight til we win. There is no alternative.”

Climate Defiance, who are based in the United States, are protesting against the use of fossil fuels. They have targeted the Citi Open because the tournament’s lead sponsor, Citi Bank, has funded the fossil fuel industry.

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Their actions attracted attention from the media, but they did not go down well with Fritz, who was visibly annoyed by the disruption to his match. The 25-year-old American came through 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to beat Murray in an epic before criticising the protesters.

“I get they’re protesting, but there’s just got to be a better way to do it,” said Fritz. “I don’t understand how people are going to get behind a cause when you’re ruining everyone else’s good time. Like, it doesn’t really make sense to me.

“It’s annoying, obviously, when they do it. It’s ruining everyone’s time. Everyone wants to watch the tennis. So I jokingly said, ‘Honestly, this makes me want to go fly on jets more.’

“I think, you know, they’re supporting a good cause, but the way they’re doing it, who’s going to want to listen when they’re just annoying everybody?”

A spokesperson for the tournament said around a dozen people were asked to leave the site and did so without incident. No damage was done to the court and play resumed swiftly, allowing Fritz to knock out Murray, who was playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon last month.

The sight of protesters at tennis was nothing new. Wimbledon was disrupted by Just Stop Oil protesters, who threw orange confetti onto the court after running from the stands during a first-round match between Grigor Dimitrov and Sho Shimabukuro.

Just Stop Oil have also sent some of its members onto the field during the Ashes Test at Lord’s earlier in the summer, prompting England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow to carry one of them off the field. Play was also suspended at the World Championship Snooker in April after a protestor climbed onto the table and emptied a packet of orange powder paint onto it.

Felix Keith

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