Tennis matches at the Summer Olympics will be delayed by four hours due to players’ recent struggles with extreme heat in Tokyo, the International Tennis Federation announced on Wednesday.
The extreme weather policy of the organisers allows for changes in play once the wet-bulb globe temperature reaches about 86 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as 10-minute breaks when requested by men’s and women’s players.
No. 29 in the women’s world. Due to inclement weather, Paula Badosa of Spain was forced to withdraw from her quarterfinal match against No. 42 Marketa Vondrousova on Wednesday. She was escorted from the court in a wheelchair.
“The decision to start matches at 3 p.m. JST (13 hours ahead of EDT) from Thursday is possible due to the outcomes of [Wednesday’s] matches across the five competitions being staged and the size of player field and is designed to further safeguard player health,” the ITF said.
“It has been made following consultation with the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo 2020, Olympic Broadcast Services, as well as the Olympic Tennis Event players, referee, medical experts and other key stakeholders.”
“I am very sorry that I had to end the tournament likes this,” Badosa wrote Wednesday in an Instagram post. “The conditions were very harsh and my body told me enough.”
Broadcasts in the United States began at 10 p.m. EDT for the first three days. Beginning Thursday, the women’s semifinals and men’s quarterfinals will be broadcast on NBC’s Olympic Channel at 2 a.m.
On Thursday, Serbia’s men’s No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the second match at Centre Court.
On Wednesday, Russian Olympic Committee men’s No. 2 Daniil Medvedev struggled with the heat at Ariake Tennis Park. He defeated Italy’s No. 31 Fabio Fognini, but he needed two medical timeouts and asked the official what would happen if he “died” from the heat.
Djokovic and Medvedev also told reporters earlier this week that they wished the matches were played later in the day.