Tokyo Olympics: Daniil Medvedev says heat can kill
World No.2 Daniil Medvedev gave a frank assessment of the stifling conditions for tennis in Tokyo on Wednesday when the visibly upset Russian told the umpire he could finish his match but wanted to know who will take responsibility if he died.
Last week, Medvedev was the first to appeal for a delayed start for tennis at the Tokyo Olympics due to the hot and humid weather conditions and also received support from world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
On Wednesday, he opened the proceedings on Ariake Tennis Park’s main show court against Italian Fabio Fognini and was struggling throughout the match. The 25-year-old took a medical timeout on court and also called the trainer on couple of other occasions.
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos was concerned and asked Medvedev if he was alright while the Russian was serving at 3-4 in the second set after winning the first.
“I’m fine. I can finish the match but I can die. If I die will the ITF (governing body International Tennis Federation) take responsibility?” Medvedev said in reply.
The ITF’s “extreme weather policy” allows a 10-minute break between the second and third set if agreed by both players and Medvedev used that time to get a freezing cold shower. “Even from the first set I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing,” he said, adding that he felt it was the most humid day so far in Tokyo.