Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa has increased concerns about heat exhaustion at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, after the 23-year-old had to be wheelchaired out of her quarterfinal against Marketa Vondrousova.
The Barcelona-based star was hoping to surpass a career best performance at the French Open earlier this year, where she similarly reached this stage of a competition by beating the same opponent in the last 16.
But Vondrousova came flying out of the tracks this time and was blatantly less affected by the grueling conditions.
As the Czech took the first set 6-3, Badosa could continue no longer and was forced to retire.
Absolutely heartbreaking as Paula Badosa retires due to heat. Vondrousova is into the semis. pic.twitter.com/BNksT22RmZ
— . (@Ashish__TV) July 28, 2021
Vondrousova, who beat home crowd favorite Naomi Osaka in the last round, now advances to the semi-finals.
Hardly able to celebrate a victory in such circumstances, she went over to Badosa to embrace her and wish her all the best as harrowing scenes played out.
Attended by a group of coaches and officials, with an ice pack to her head and air con blowing in her face, the world number 29 slumped in her chair apparently suffering a heat stroke and could not make it off court.
— Leksa ミ☆ (@larissatwho) July 28, 2021
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
With a towel over her head, she had to be wheelchaired away, and one onlooker commented that there is no chance she will return to play mixed doubles with her partner Pablo Carreño later today.
The development follows an outburst from men’s world number 2 Daniil Medvedev, who during his third round tie with Fabio Fognini asked: “I can finish the match but I can die. If I die, are you going to be responsible?”
“I felt like my diaphragm has blocked,” the Russian later said. “I couldn’t breathe properly. It was the most humid day we had so far – maybe the hottest.”
With temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, it seems organizers are tempting fate and may only take proper action once a real tragedy has occurred.