Olympic organizers push back tennis schedule after Paula Badosa suffered heat stroke and left the court in a wheelchair


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The organizers have acceded to players’ requests to modify the tennis schedule at the Tokyo Olympics after Spain’s Paula Badosa suffered heat stroke and left the pitch in a wheelchair.

Badosa needed healing after losing the first set of her singles quarter-final 6-3 to Naomi Osaka’s conqueror Marketa Vondrousova.

She later recovered but withdrew from her opening mixed doubles match alongside Pablo Carreno Busta, with her coach Javier Marti saying: “The conditions today were so difficult to play.

“In her last two points, she felt very bad, she was serving very slowly. After asking for treatment, she had no energy and could not continue because she felt dizzy.”

Men’s second seed Daniil Medvedev also struggled and was heard in his third-round match against Fabio Fognini: “If I die, who will take the blame?”

A number of players have complained that they were forced to play mid-day in the high heat and humidity, with Novak Djokovic saying matches are expected to start later in the day.

The International Tennis Federation, which organizes the event, had kept matches starting at 11 a.m. but from Thursday it will drop to 3 p.m.

The ITF said in a statement: “In the interests of the health and well-being of the players and after careful consultation, the ITF has announced a change of schedule due to the heat and humidity. current trends in Tokyo.

“The decision to start matches at 3 p.m. from Thursday is possible due to the results of today’s matches in the five competitions held and the size of the players’ pitch, and is designed to further protect the health of the players. players.

“This has been done after consultation with the IOC, Tokyo 2020, Olympic broadcast services as well as players, referees, medical experts and other key stakeholders of the Olympic tennis event.”

Djokovic welcomed the change saying: “It was good news to receive. In my opinion, it should have been done a few days earlier. But that’s how it is.

“It’s very good because you don’t want to see situations like what we saw today with Paula Badosa. I’ve been playing tennis professionally for 20 years and I’ve never faced these kinds of conditions in my entire life. life on a consecutive day. basis.”

Medvedev lost the second set to Fognini but recovered to win 6-2 3-6 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals.

He later said: “Even from the first set, I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing. I felt like my diaphragm was blocked. I think it was the wettest day I’ve ever had. we have had so far.

“Then in the second set I just had darkness in my eyes. Between each point I didn’t know what to do to feel better. I was bending over and couldn’t catch my breath. I was ready to just fall on the ground.

“It helped me win the first set, so I knew there was a 10-minute break. So I went into the cold, freezing shower. When you have such a change in temperature and go out on the court hot, you can fully cramp and it ends the game for you, or you feel better. I was lucky to feel better.”

Medvedev objected to being asked if he felt any stigma of cheating following banning of athletes from competing for Russia, calling for journalist who popped the question to be barred from Olympics .

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