As you might have heard, the summer heat in Tokyo has created oppressive conditions for athletes across the Games. No sport is ailing as much as tennis right now.
Amid visible struggles with 90-degree temperatures and high humidity, Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev put those struggles into some of the most frank words possible when he asked the chair umpire point blank what happens when he dies:
a very metal moment in the Olympic tennis just now as Medvedev casually asks what happens if he dies on the court pic.twitter.com/kotZxePtEw
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 28, 2021
“I can finish the match but I can die," Medvedev could be heard saying. "If I die, are you going to be responsible?”
Medvedev, no stranger to bombastic behavior, required trainer attention during the second set amid struggles with the heat and an abdominal injury. The third-round match was also paused for 10 minutes going into the third set to allow Medvedev and his opponent Fabio Fognini some time to recover.
Medvedev, the world No. 2, would eventually survive both the conditions and a spirited challenge from Fognini, advancing to the fourth round with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win. He got off easy compared to some of his peers, though.
Paula Badosa retires due to heat
Soon after Medvedev's victory, world No. 29 Paula Badosa of Spain had to retire due to heat exhaustion. She was eventually taken off the court in a wheelchair.
No way Badosa is coming back to play mixed doubles with Carreño later today. Tough scenes to watch. pic.twitter.com/SEZiZ7gYNy
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 28, 2021
Markéta Vondroušová, who defeated Naomi Osaka in the third round, will advance to the semifinals, while Badosa is almost certainly out for her mixed doubles match scheduled for later in the day.
Complaints about the heat have been a recurring story during the games, and previously peaked when Russian archer Svetlana Gomboeva passed out due to heat exhaustion. Both Medvedev and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic criticized the scheduling in earlier rounds, with each lobbying for delayed start times to avoid the mid-day sun.
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