Madison Keys won her Round of 16 match despite a ridiculous fan-induced match delay

This is just the latest example of over-the-line fan behavior at the Italian Open
Robert Prange/GettyImages

The good news is that Madison Keys won her Italian Open Round of 16 match on Pietrangeli against Sorana Cirstea by the score of 6-2, 6-1. The bad news is that the tennis was the secondary story of this match.

Protestors wearing orange vests jumped onto the court and began sprinkling confetti everywhere. He was protesting climate change, and this was in conjunction with a similar event on Court 12 during the men's doubles match between Édouard Roger-Vasselin and Santiago González against Marcelo Arévalo and Mate Pavić.

Tennis journalist Jose Morgado reported that a third protest was planned on the Grandstand but was stopped in the stands.

What Madison Keys said about the protest

Keys said her initial thought was to tackle the guys but stopped herself when the chair umpire was yelling at her to sit down. She added: "It’s obviously not the greatest feeling when you're on court, and your first reaction is your own safety. I think maybe banning cement and glue from bags may be [a] start!"

Play was stopped for nearly an hour until the incident was resolved and the court cleaned. It is yet another unsettline reminder of how vulnerable tennis players are while on the court playing their matches. Novak Djokovic was accidentally struck in the head with a metal water bottle falling out of a fan's bag while signing autographs, and Sebastian Korda said that his family and team were berated by a fan during his 2/12 hour match earlier in the week.

Thos of us who were alive during Monica Seles's stabbing on court by a disgruntled fan in 1993 have horrible flashbacks every time fans are seen and heard being inappropriate. Seles's life and career were changed forever by that preventable tragedy. Security must be more stringent in what is allowed into venues with thorough bag checks, and fans should be immediately removed for being verbally or physically disrespectful to players and other fans. It is troubling how long the protestors were on the court steps away from Keys and Cirstea before security appeared. This situation would have been downright dangerous if those protestors had other intentions. There have been plenty of close calls this week that the WTA and ATP need to take note of and figure out ways to improve the safety of the players, their loved ones, and fans peacefully watching the event.

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