Taylor Fritz has told the climate protesters who disrupted his match that they’re putting people off from supporting their cause.
The American faced Andy Murray in the last-16 of the Citi Open in Washington DC, with the Scot falling to defeat to the top seed.
But before Fritz claimed victory, the tight contest was disrupted by climate protesters.
Giant tennis balls were thrown onto the court in the first set, whilst protesters in the crowd wore t-shirts reading ‘End fossil fuels’ and held up banners saying ‘Climate disaster’.
Play was stopped for five minutes. But despite the match being able to continue, Fritz labelled the move as ‘annoying’ and said it was discrediting a ‘good cause’.
“I get they’re protesting, but there’s just got to be a better way to do it,” Fritz said.
“I don’t understand how people are going to get behind a cause when you’re ruining everyone else’s good time. Like, it doesn’t really make sense to me.
“It’s annoying, obviously, when they do it. It’s ruining everyone’s time. Everyone wants to watch the tennis. So I jokingly said, ‘Honestly, this makes me want to go fly on jets more.’
“I think, you know, they’re supporting a good cause, but the way they’re doing it, who’s going to want to listen when they’re just annoying everybody?”
Aside from the disruption, Murray had come back from a break down to take the first set.
However, Fritz went on to win 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4.
The world singles no.9 hailed Murray for his performance, though, praising the Scot for his first performance since his second round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“Andy is a legend,” he told the press. “It’s an honour to be on court with him.
“That was a war. At the net, I just said ‘tough one. I’m sorry.’ You have to acknowledge it when you have a match like that. You gotta embrace at net. You feel for whoever loses.”
This isn’t the first time a high profile tennis match has been disrupted this summer, with Just Stop Oil protesters interrupting Grigor Dimitrov and Sho Shimabukuro’s first round tie, too.