British tennis player Jack Draper was forced to bow out of his Miami Open match on Thursday after he collapsed on the court in the heat while playing his first set against Mikhail Kukushkin.
The 19-year-old budding star fell to the ground during the first set of the match and was immediately attended to by medical staff at the court. He told reporters afterward he started to feel something was wrong after the two opponents switched sides and gave it a go after having been checked out once.
“At the changeover, I was starting to feel my body a bit. I said that I’m going to carry on because I wasn’t feeling faint … But obviously when I got out there, that wasn’t the case. On the last point, I didn’t collapse. I actually just tripped because I was starting to feel really dizzy and stuff,” he said, via News.com.au.
“In the last couple of hours, I have been with physios, trying to recover as best as possible, just trying to look after myself and move forward.”
Kukushkin won the set 7-5 and Draper retired afterward.
Draper also told reporters he had a bout of coronavirus earlier in the year. He said it sidelined him for two weeks in January.
“I didn’t move a muscle and that was after pre-season as well, so I put in a really good pre-season and then I didn’t play so it’s been a rough start to the year,” he said. “I got it, it’s obviously an extremely aggressive virus and you can catch it from anywhere, but I got it and it did affect me quite badly for seven days.
“I had bad symptoms and then I recovered pretty quickly from there, but it definitely had an effect on me. “I’ve put in loads of great training since then, so it’s no excuse, but did it have an effect on me at the time? Probably. With a lot of these things you don’t know how much it really affects you.”
Kukushkin also admitted the conditions were a bit pressing.
“I believe he’s a good player, young,” he said of Draper, via The Guardian. “It was a tough match, really tough conditions today. So hot and humid and really slow. I’ve never played in such slow conditions. The balls after one or two games started getting so big. You needed so much energy to just hit over the net. Every single game was deuce, such long rallies.”