Tennis matches at the Olympics will now start later in the day after requests from players who have struggled in the extremely hot and humid conditions in Tokyo.
World number two Daniil Medvedev gave a frank assessment of the stifling conditions on Wednesday when the visibly upset Russian told the umpire he could finish his match but wanted to know who would take responsibility if he died.
“I’m fine,” Medvedev said after taking a medical timeout in his third-round match against Fabio Fognini.
“I will finish the match, but I can die. If I die, is the ITF [International Tennis Federation] going to take responsibility?”
He added after the match: “Even from the first set, I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing. That’s why I called the physio. I felt like my diaphragm was blocked.
“And then on the second set, I just had darkness in my eyes, like between every point, I didn’t know what to do to feel better. Like I was bending over and I couldn’t get my breath together so I was ready to just fall down on the court.”
The ITF have now confirmed matches will be shifted to 3pm starts from now on.
“In the interests of player health and welfare and following extensive consultation, the ITF has announced a change of schedule due to the increasing heat and humidity currently being experienced in Tokyo, Japan,” they said in a statement.
Matches at the Ariake Tennis Park started at 11am until Wednesday with some players suffering heatstroke.
Last week top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Medvedev led calls to organisers to move the matches to later in the afternoon.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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