US Open protesters Sep 7, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; NYPD officers remove one of three climate change protesters who glued their feet to the floor in the loge level of Arthur Ashe Stadium during the match between Coco Gauff of the United States and Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic (both not pictured) in a women’s singles semifinal on day eleven of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A 49-minute climate change protest interrupted the US Open Women’s Semifinal on Thursday. The match between Coco Guaff and Karolina Muchova was delayed because of a disruptive demonstration by four environmental activists in the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

One protester glued their bare feet to the concrete floor. 

According to ESPN, The U.S. Tennis Association said three protesters were escorted out of the stadium without incident, but it took a bit longer to remove the individual who glued his feet to the ground. The NYPD and medical personnel were called upon as they were eventually able to safely remove the person and take all four individuals into police custody.

Gauff was leading 1-0 in the second set when play was suspended for 49 minutes. She would go on to win 6-4, 7-5.

After advancing to the US Women’s Final, she sent a clear message to the protesters.

Gauff, who said that she believes in climate change, said she didn’t know what the protesters, who were wearing shirts that read, “End Fossil Fuels,” were supposed to be protesting, but knew it was related to environmental justice.

“I 10o% believe in that. I think there are things we could do better,” she said. “I know the tournaments are doing things to do better for the environment. Would I prefer it not happening in my match? 100% yeah, I’m not gonna sit here and lie, but it is what it is.”

Gauff said she had a feeling that something along these lines would happen at the US Open after it took place at both the French Open and Wimbledon.

“Following the trend, it was definitely going to happen here. I was hoping it wasn’t in my match and honestly, I thought we made it through, but it is what it is,” Gauff added. “Moments like this are history-defining moments and like I said, I prefer it not to happen in my match, but I wasn’t pissed at the protesters…I always speak about preaching what you feel and what you believe in. It was done in a peaceful way. I can’t get too mad at it…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.”

[The Tennis Letter]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.