Coco Gauff’s US Open Match Halted by Climate Change Protester – Coco Gauff’s semifinal match at the US Open tennis tournament on Thursday evening was temporarily halted by a group of climate change activists. The interruption occurred while Gauff, 19, and Karolína Muchová were competing on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. The U.S. Tennis Association reported that the protesters caused a 49-minute delay in the match.
The Tennis Letter shared a video of a portion of the incident on X, formerly known as Twitter. In the clip, Gauff walked over to members of her team and asked, “Should I leave the court?” She was instructed not to do so. “They said they’re on the phone negotiating like this is a hostage situation,” she added as the individuals seemingly tried to understand what was going on inside of the stadium.
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Both Gauff and her opponent Muchová, aged 27, were eventually granted permission to exit the court due to the extended disruption. Gauff, hailing from Atlanta, was leading 6-4, 1-0 when the incident occurred at around 8:05 p.m. ET. Shortly thereafter, both players left the court. Gauff utilized the downtime to practice her tennis strokes and enjoy a snack of fruit, while Muchová took the opportunity to consult with a trainer.
“Following the first game of the second set in the Gauff-Muchova match, play was halted due to a protest conducted by four spectators,” the USTA said in a statement. “Three of the four protesters were escorted out of the stadium without further incident. The fourth protester affixed their bare feet to the floor of the seating bowl.” The organization continued, “Due to the nature of this action, NYPD and medical personnel were needed in order to safely remove this individual from the stadium.”
“The four protesters were taken into NYPD custody.” The group of protesters were seen wearing different colored T-shirts that read “End Fossil Fuels.” After the protesters were removed, an announcer joked with Gauff as she thanked the audience for their patience, adding that “99.99 percent of [the crowd] behaved themselves tonight.” Following the interruption, Gauff triumphed over Muchová, securing her place in the US Open Singles Final.
This achievement also marked her as the youngest American player to reach this stage in New York since Serena Williams accomplished the feat in 2001. During her post-match press conference, Gauff told reporters she supports the protesters’ cause, but she would “prefer it not” happen during her match. She added that she was not “pissed at the protesters,” but understood that the crowd was not happy because “it just interrupted entertainment.”
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“I always speak about preaching, you know, preaching about what you feel and what you believe in,” Gauff continued. “It was done in a peaceful way, so I can’t get too mad at it. Obviously I don’t want it to happen when I’m winning up 6-4, 1-0, and I wanted the momentum to keep going. But hey, if that’s what they felt they needed to do to get their voices heard, I can’t really get upset at it.”