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Australian Open protester halts Cameron Norie epic as ‘Free Palestine’ flyers thrown onto court

Cameron Norrie’s fourth-round match at the Australian Open against Alexander Zverev was briefly interrupted by a protester.

During the sixth game of the third set, a woman was standing in the front row behind the baseline and was seen taking pieces of paper out of a bag and throwing them in the direction of play.

Zverev’s fourth-round match against Norrie was disrupted by a protestor (REUTERS)
Zverev’s fourth-round match against Norrie was disrupted by a protestor (REUTERS)

Some of the items reached the court, but it is not clear what the protest was in relation to, although some of the pieces of paper had ‘Free Palestine’ written on them.

With a lack of apparent security, other supporters took it upon themselves to grab the woman and forcibly escort the protester out of the grounds.

When they returned to their spots, those who halted the protest were given the biggest round of applause of the game so far.

Zverev has been subject to scrutiny already at the tournament when he was asked after his second-round match whether he would be attending his upcoming trial in May for domestic abuse in person.

A day before his first-round match, the district court in Berlin announced that he would undertake a public trial.

In October, the tennis player was issued a penalty order and fined 450,000 euros for allegations of physically abusing his ex-girlfriend Brenda Patea during an argument in Berlin in May 2020.

Some of the pieces of paper had to picked up off the court (Getty Images)
Some of the pieces of paper had to picked up off the court (Getty Images)

The 26-year-old has denied the charges.

Zverev started the tournament as the number six seed, and Norrie has never got the better of the German in their previous four meetings.

The 28-year-old has never played in the last 16 in Melbourne previously and remains the only British player left in the singles draws.

However, he surpassed expectations with a win over three-time Grand Slam finalist Casper Ruud on Saturday, despite a previously poor record against the Norwegian.

Zverev’s route to the fourth round has not been as straightforward as he might have expected when the sixth seed took four and a half hours to beat Slovakian qualifier Lukas Klein in the second round.