Wimbledon’s security arrangements are adequate despite two court invasions by climate activists, according to Bulgarian 21st seed Grigor Dimitrov who witnessed one at close quarters.
Dimitrov was playing Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro on Court 18 when two Just Stop Oil protesters ran on armed with ticker-tape which they sprinkled over the playing surface.
Both were quickly apprehended and the court cleared before a rain delay forced the players off.
Asked whether he felt more should have been done to stop the incident, which was repeated later when Britain’s Katie Boulter was playing on the same court, Dimitrov shrugged it off.
“Obviously, it’s not pleasant. In the end of the day there is not much you can do. I think everyone in a way did their part as quick as possible,” the former semifinalist told reporters.
“I mean, rain was coming so it was also a little bit fortunate to come off the court and have some time to regroup a little bit and shake it off.
“I thought everything was just handled good.”
Wimbledon’s outside courts and some of the smaller show courts allow fans to be very close to the players, making it difficult to stop protests.
Security has been beefed up at the All England Club in the wake of several Just Stop Oil protests at British sporting events, with Wimbledon seen as a prime target.
Dimitrov was asked whether he was worried about his safety.
“No, no, not at all,” the 32-year-old said. “I think we are never left unguarded anywhere we have to go. So yeah, I mean, walking to the court, you’re always surrounded by the right people. I for one feel okay with everything on that end.
“Again, it just can happen, I mean, anyway if you’re in the wrong place in the wrong time.”
Last week at the Ashes cricket test a Just Stop Oil activist was carried off the Lord’s pitch by England player Jonny Bairstow after throwing orange powder on the field.
Dimitrov said he had thought about tackling the protesters himself.
“I mean, my first reaction was initially to go also, but then I also realised that’s not my place to do that,” Dimitrov said. “I think it just depends on the person. Whatever instinct you have.”
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