Australian Open Protestor Threatens To Derail Men’s Final

There were a few seconds near a crucial break point that you probably missed.

Australian Open Protestor Threatens To Derail Men’s Final

Image Credit: REUTERS/Morgan Sette

The 2022 Australian Open blew minds from start to finish. From Djokovic’s visa debacle to Barty’s watch choice or Nadal’s astonishing comeback, it was a feast of emotion – a lip smacking session that has been pored over to within an inch of its life by pundits, media, and social media users.

But if you were watching the men’s final at home (1.6 million metro viewers tuned in to watch, and ESPN said the broadcast “may be the most-watched” ESPN telecast ever in that time slot), there were a few seconds near a crucial break point that you probably missed. An interval which caused confusion and was deliberately cut from screens.

That break? The one where there was a pitch invader. Though camera people deliberately shifted focus to avoid giving the intruder any air time, photos have now emerged showing who the pitch invader was, and what they were trying to achieve.

According to Twitter user Tyson Whelan, whose profile indicates he is a journalist, the men’s final court invader was brandishing a sign which read “abolish refugee detention.”

Racquet Magazine’s Senior Editor Ben Rotherberg wrote in the heat of the moment (before knowing what the invader was protesting for): “Some bozo just jumped out of the stands onto the court (probably about three meters), got dragged out.”

Image via Twitter

He added: “The person was holding a banner, but jumped off the ledge onto the court before anyone near me had a chance to see what it said. Protesters during [The Australian Open] men’s finals are fairly common, but usually they don’t plummet without a plan like that.”

It has been reported that the protester looked to have injured themselves in the fall. While the incident occurred security rushed to surround Nadal and Medvedev, in case of further disruption.

There was no further disruption and the match continued. Nadal eventually completed a stunning comeback and won the tournament, making history in the process.

Many people were curious what the protest was about, while others said they thought interrupting a tennis final wasn’t the time to protest. In a similar vein, some applauded Channel 9 not for televising the protest, while others criticised their lack of coverage.

Others criticised those who were criticising the pitch invader.

This isn’t the first time protesters have jumped onto the court at the Australian Open. Two refugee activists were arrested for interrupting the second set of the Australian Open men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in 2015. 

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