Coco Gauff stated that she was not able to become upset with the climate activists who caused a 45-minute pause during her US Open semifinal match against Karolína Muchová on Thursday.
During the second set, Gauff was in the lead when the interruption occurred. She eventually won the match 6-4 7-5, securing her spot in the grand slam final for the second time.
The US Open released a statement regarding an incident involving a fan at Arthur Ashe Stadium. According to the statement, the fan caused a disturbance and needed medical, NYPD, and security personnel to be resolved and removed from the stands.
The spectator, who was loudly discussing “environmental concerns” according to the ESPN broadcast, was escorted out of the stadium as the crowd cheered.
According to a statement from the US Tennis Association, four protestors were present and three of them were removed from the stadium without any additional issues.
“In the past, events such as this have been pivotal moments,” Gauff stated to the media. “I am a firm believer in climate change. While I am not entirely familiar with the details of the protest, I know it was centered around environmental issues. I wholeheartedly support that cause.”
“I believe there are improvements that can be made. I am aware that tournaments are taking steps to be more environmentally conscious. Would I rather it not occur during my match? Absolutely. I won’t deny that. However, the reality is what it is.”
During the delay, both Gauff and Muchová exited the court while the protestors were being escorted out of the stadium.
Last year’s French Open and Wimbledon were both disrupted by climate protestors who scattered orange confetti and jigsaw puzzle pieces on the grass court.
“I had a sense that it would occur in this tournament,” stated Gauff. “It occurred during the French Open and Wimbledon, so following suit, it was bound to happen here.”
She stated, “I wasn’t angry at the protesters. I understand that the disturbance was due to them, but it disrupted the entertainment. I consistently advocate for expressing your true feelings and beliefs. The protest was carried out in a peaceful manner, so I cannot be too upset about it.”
“Of course, I did not want this to occur while I was leading 6-4 1-0 and wished to maintain the momentum. However, if that was their way of expressing themselves and being heard, I cannot be too upset about it.”
Gauff, the youngest woman to reach the US Open final since Serena Williams in 1999, will next face Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka as she bids to win her first grand slam title.
This report includes contributions from CNN’s Jenny Stevens.