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10th Jul 2022

Wimbeldon protestor claims he was ‘attacked’ by security and ‘smashed into a wall’

Daniel Brown

The protester has alleged that he was roughly treated by security

A protest broke out in the Centre Court crowd during the Wimbledon men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios on Sunday, with security quickly dealing with the spectator.

Play was briefly halted during the final, however, it didn’t seem to distract the two players as the pair both notched a set each, before Djokovic took the third and fourth set to win the title.

While it was unclear at first what the protest was actually about, it now appears that the protestor was holding up a sign about Peng Shuai, who is a Chinese tennis player who went missing from the public eye soon after accusing Zhang Gaoli, a retired Vice Premier of China, of sexual assault in 2021.

She re-appeared on state media two weeks later, however, many critics in the west believe her return was staged after concern was raised over her disappearance. Despite several months passing, Peng is still yet to fully return.

The protester, identified as Drew Pavlou, has since explained his version of events on social media, and alleged that he was roughly treated by security.

On Twitter, he said: “I held up a sign at the Wimbledon Final saying “Where Is Peng Shuai?” I shouted “Where Is Peng Shuai, Chinese tennis star persecuted by the Chinese government, why won’t Wimbledon say something?”.

“Security pushed me over one of the rows and we all tripped over it.

“Then one of the security guards who tripped, a guy in a blue Hawaiian shirt, he wanted to get back at me and hurt me, he pushed me with full force down the steps and I fell head first.

“He then grabbed me and smashed me up against the wall and twisted my arms behind my back.

“As he smashed me against the wall he said, ‘the police are coming to arrest you now.’

“Team of security treated me like a terrorist, kept my arms twisted really painfully behind my back as they expelled me from the stadium, all while saying they were sympathetic to my cause.”

He also uploaded a photo of his wrist on Twitter, claiming that his injury was a result of how security had treated him.

When someone questioned his decision to disrupt the match, he relied: “I didn’t want to disrupt the match, I just held up the sign and security started attacking me, it was only at that point I shouted out Where Is Peng Shuai because I wanted to get the message out, sorry Nick Kyrgios @NickKyrgios I love you man hope you win the match”.

Despite the earlier interruption, Djokovic held his nerve to secure his seventh men’s singles Wimbledon championship after winning the fourth set.

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