Olympic Player to Ump: 'I Can Finish the Match but I Can Die'

Tennis player Daniil Medvedev suffers amidst soaring temps
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 28, 2021 9:00 AM CDT
Olympic Player to Ump: 'I Can Finish the Match but I Can Die'
Daniil Medvedev, of the Russian Olympic Committee, pauses during a third round men's tennis match against Fabio Fognini, of Italy, at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

What the Tokyo Olympics are looking like for some athletes: Bent over in exhaustion before serving. Resting on his racket between points. Grasping for a rubber tube blowing cool air next to his seat on changeovers. Two medical timeouts. Daniil Medvedev was struggling so much with the suffocating heat and humidity at the Ariake Tennis Park on Wednesday that at one point the chair umpire asked him if he could continue playing. "I can finish the match but I can die," replied Medvedev, who is ranked No. 2 in the world and competing for the Russian Olympic Committee team, per CNN. "If I die, [is the International Tennis Federation] going to be responsible?" With the heat index making it feel like a sizzling 99, Medvedev still pulled out a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini of Italy to reach the quarterfinals, reports the AP. More:

  • Players' request. The problems the players faced raised questions over why organizers did not grant requests earlier in the tournament from Medvedev and other players—including top-ranked Novak Djokovic—to move all of the tennis matches at the Games to the evening. Later Wednesday, organizers announced that matches would begin at 3pm starting Thursday, a push from the scheduled 11am starts.
  • Medvedev's match. With so much suffering, Medvedev took his time between points, which drew protests from Fognini. Both players were allowed to leave the court for 10 minutes between the second and third sets with an extreme heat rule in effect. Medvedev said he took a "cold, freezing shower” during the break but that the sharp change in temperature put his body into shock and caused him to cramp. Medvedev—if he's up to it—will next face sixth-seeded Carreno Busta.
  • Other suffering. CNN reports that later Wednesday, Paula Badosa of Spain exited her singles quarter-final match in a wheelchair after suffering heatstroke. She retired from the match, allowing Czech Marketa Vondrousova to advance.
(Read more 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)

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