In the same week that a crazed climate fanatic attacked the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, France experienced another unhinged stunt from a climate-change activist. On Friday, a semi-final match between Casper Ruud and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic was disrupted for approximately 15 minutes when a young female climate-change activist charged the court and attached herself to the net at Roland Garros in Paris.
While Ruud was serving in the third set, a 22-year-old female wearing a shirt that read “We have only 1,028 days left” charged the court and attached herself to the net with metal wires and glue.
Ruud was leading, 3-6, 6-4, 4-1, at the moment play was disrupted. He would go on to defeat Cilic in four sets. He will face Rafael Nadal for the title on Sunday.
A French climate activist organization — Dernière Rénovation, or Last Renovation — identified the woman as Alizée.
“22-year-old Alizée stepped onto the tennis court during the Ruud-Cilic semi-final to draw attention to the climate emergency and the demand for the Last Renovation campaign,” the group tweeted. (Google translation)
It’s possible that Dernière Rénovation was involved in the protest as the young woman’s shirt also showed the group’s website on her collar.
According to the Dernière Rénovation website, the young woman explained her reason for the stunt.
“We are in 2022 and it is time to face reality, the world to which politicians are sending us is a world to which Roland Garros will no longer be able to exist,” the woman allegedly said. “Today, I entered the field because I can no longer take the risk of doing nothing in the face of the climate emergency.”
The young woman was seated in the third row of the stadium and had entered with a valid ticket.
“The young woman, of French nationality, entered the grounds with a valid ticket early in the day,” said a statement from the French Tennis Federation.
Security guards approached the young woman cautiously prior to unhooking her from the net and carrying her off.
“The security team needed to formally identify the objects she used to get onto the court before they could remove her,” the federation explained, adding that she was “handed over to the police” after the incident.
In 1993, the world’s number-one ranked female tennis player, Monica Seles, was stabbed in the back by a crazed fan of rival Steffi Graf. Seles would survive the incident and return to the court, but she was never the same from a competitive standpoint.
Haven’t tennis officials learned anything in the three decades since?
And lest you think that tennis is the only sport with this type of problem, recall that recently animal-rights protesters charged the court during multiple NBA playoff games involving the Minnesota Timberwolves. The animal-rights group Direct Action Everywhere was behind those attacks, saying they were protesting Timberwolves’ “team owner Glen Taylor’s factory farm brutally killing 5 million birds via ‘ventilation shutdown.’”
During the Timberwolves’ play-in game with the Los Angeles Clippers, protester Alicia Saturio glued her hands to the court while play was ongoing.
Later, during the playoff series between the Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, protester Zoe Rosenberg chained herself to a basket stanchion near where Taylor was sitting.
When the series switched back to Minneapolis, protester Sasha Zemmel rushed the court just in front of Taylor. Zemmel suffered a less-glorious fate, though, as she was tackled immediately by a security guard and removed from the premises before her stunt could occur. Dressed as an NBA referee, she had planned to call a “technical foul” on Taylor.
The sports owners and various athletic organizations need to clamp down forcefully on these types of antics, regardless of what cause the protesters are promoting. The treatment received by Zemmel is by far preferable to the gentle way the other criminals were treated.
It’s only a matter of time until another Monica Seles-type incident occurs.
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