Wimbledon organisers ‘very disappointed’ about protest disruption in first week

Three Just Stop Oil supporters invaded Court 18 in two separate protests on Wednesday.

Wimbledon organisers have said disruptions to play by protesters in the first week of the tournament were “very disappointing”.

On Wednesday, three Just Stop Oil (JSO) supporters invaded Court 18 in two separate protests and threw orange-coloured confetti and jigsaw puzzle pieces onto court.

Two men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

JSO protester throwing orange confetti on court
A Just Stop Oil protester at Wimbledon last week (Adam Davy/PA)

JSO named them as Simon Milner-Edwards, 66, from Manchester, Deborah Wilde, 68, from London, and William John Ward, 66, from Epsom.

Chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) Sally Bolton told reporters on Monday morning: “It was very disappointing that people came to disrupt the enjoyment of others last week.”

She reiterated a plea to ask spectators to “respect the players and to respect the enjoyment of other people”.

Asked if organisers had made any changes to security in the wake of the protests, she said: “With everything that happens on the grounds every day we make tweaks in the way that we do things and so we reviewed the incident that happened on Court 18 and we had a look at the way in which we could learn from that so yes, we made some tweaks to what we do and how we go about it.”

Some 16,000 more people attended Wimbledon in the tournament’s first week this year compared with last year.

Spectators on the Hill
Spectators at Wimbledon on middle Sunday (Adam Davy/PA)

According to the AELTC, 293,681 people visited the championships last week as opposed to 277,354 in week one in 2022.

Ms Bolton told reporters: “(I am) very, very happy that the championships is very much back beyond Covid.

“I think it has taken sport a number of years to properly recover and so we’re really pleased with that.”

She added that the tournament has had “unprecedented demand” for tickets with hospitality selling out early and “fantastic” queue numbers.

Home fans will be rooting for remaining British players in the doubles competitions as Wimbledon enters its second week.

Jamie Murray playing on court
Jamie Murray in action during his mixed doubles match (Victorian Jones/PA)

Hopes of a British singles champion ended at SW19 after no UK players made it through to Sunday’s fourth round.

But Jamie Murray won both his men’s and mixed doubles matches on Sunday – with similar success for British pair Joe Salisbury and Heather Watson, who also made it through to the third round.

On Monday, the Met Office said the South East will stay mostly dry, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 23C or 24C.

Rain will spread from the South West towards the North East with heavy thunderstorms at times, but also some patches of sun, the forecasting body predicted.

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