A protester stopped the French Open semi-final for 15 minutes but the tennis world was more alarmed at the reaction to her invasion.
Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian man to reach a Grand Slam final on Saturday when he set up a French Open title clash with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, the man he described as his “idol”.
World number eight Ruud defeated Croatia’s Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in a semi-final which was held up when a protester drawing attention to climate change ran onto the court and tied herself by the neck to the net.
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She wore a shirt which bore the slogan “We have 1028 days left” before being eventually cut free by security staff. She was then carried off by four guards and the match resumed after a 15-minute delay.
However, some wondered how easily the invader was allowed to enter the court and were concerned by the response time of a seemingly sluggish security detail.
Many on social media referenced the horrific on-court stabbing of Monica Seles by a court invader three decades ago, when questioning why security took so long to act.
“Not the first time this fortnight that a spectator invades the court. Which, you know, sounds very concerning when we consider what happened almost 30 years ago in Hamburg,” tweeted tennis writer Gaspar Ribeiro Lanca.
“The fact that she had enough time to tie herself to the net while players were still on court and with no security around them…”
David Kane wrote: “We’re a sport where a player was literally stabbed on court, and we still haven’t figured out how to prevent this.”
Journalist Tumaini Carayol added: “Someone just invaded Chatrier and tied herself to the net. Completely bizarre, and very concerning given this sport’s history, that it took a good 20 seconds for the security to do anything at all and then they just strolled on the court.”
Ruud fired 16 aces and 41 winners past 2014 US Open champion Cilic.
“It was a great match from my side, I didn’t start the greatest but Marin played a very good first set,” said the 23-year-old Norwegian.
“I look up to Rafa. He’s the perfect example of how to behave on the court, never gives up and never complains. He’s been my idol all my life.
“He’s the last player of the Big Three that I’ve never played against, so I guess this is perfect timing. To play him in a Grand Slam final will be great. Hopefully for him too, to be playing against a student from his academy.
Earlier, Nadal reached the final in Paris for the 14th time when Alexander Zverev was forced to retire with an ankle injury after falling on the court.
Nadal was 7-6 (10/8), 6-6 ahead when the 25-year-old world number three quit in tears, taken off the court in a wheelchair before re-emerging on crutches to officially pull the pin.
Nadal, who turned 36 on Friday, will be playing in his 30th Grand Slam final and aims to become the oldest men’s champion at Roland Garros and capture a record-extending 22nd major title.