Protestor halts play at Aix-en-Provence in French Open warning sign
A protestor briefly stopped play during the semi-final of the Aix-en-Provence Challenger on Saturday. During the first set of Tommy Paul’s clash with David Goffin, a man took to the court and was quickly approached by security who attempted to remove him before he walked off. It comes as the French Open is facing threats of protests on the grounds.
Paul and Goffin had to halt their game at 4-4 in the first set when a spectator managed to get onto the court and walked up to the net, appearing to be shouting something in French. The players retreated to their benches as a security guard quickly approached the man in question, trying to get him to leave the court.
The security guard attempted to drag the protestor off the court as the umpire and another official also took to the court to try and resolve the issue. He then decided to calmly walk off the court escorted by the officials as the crowd booed, prompting the man in question to clap his hands in the air in response.
Both players resumed the game once the protestor had exited the court, with Paul going on to take the first set 6-4. The incident comes as the French Open has been under the threat of protests, with three weeks to go until the clay court Major begins.
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The CGT, France’s second-largest trade union, recently threatened to impose a blackout on major events including the French Open. It comes in response to President Macron’s planned reforms, which will increase the retirement age by two years to 64 – and protestors want him to resign.
And the ‘grevilla’ – what the union have referred themselves to – specifically named the French Open among other events where they have threatened ‘energy disturbances’. “Macron promised 100 days to appease, we promise him 100 days of actions and anger! The time is far from resignation,” their statement read.
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It added: “Our debates bring out offensive, firm and unanimous positions. In May, do what you like! The Cannes film festival, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Roland-Garros tournament, the Avignon festival could end up in the dark! We won’t give up!”
And with a lower-level Challenger event already facing problems, it comes as a warning to French Open organisers with 22 days until the main draw begins. It is not yet known what the man in Aix-en-Provence was protesting.
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