‘If I die will the ITF take responsibility?’ asks Daniil Medvedev as heat takes its toll at Olympics

Shahida Jacobs
Daniil Medvedev cools down

The heat got to Daniil Medvedev at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, but the ROC athlete mustered all his reserves to defeat Fabio Fognini in the third round.

The temperatures at Ariake Tennis Park have been under the spotlight since the opening day of the Olympics as both Medvedev and world No 1 Novak Djokovic had asked organisers to push back the starting times.

Their requests fell on deaf ears and the second seed had to battle his way to victory against Fognini, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Midway through the second set chair umpire Carlos Ramos asked Medvedev if he was okay and he replied: “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?”

After Fognini drew level to take it to a decider, both players agreed to make use of the ITF’s “extreme weather policy” that allows a 10-minute break between the second and third sets.

Medvedev used it to take a cold shower and he returned to break in game one and again in game five to seal the victory in two hours and 25 minutes.

“Even from the first set I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing. That’s why I called the physio, I felt like my diaphragm was blocked,” he said.

“And then on the second set, I just had darkness in my eyes, like between every point, I didn’t know what to do to feel better. Like I was bending over and I couldn’t get my breath together so I was ready to just fall down on the court.”

The two-time Grand Slam runner-up will face Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the last four after the Spaniard beat Dominik Koepfer from Germany 7-6 (9-7), 6-3.

ROC have two athletes in the last eight as Karen Khachanov defeated Diego Schwartzman from Argentina 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 to set up a clash with France’s Ugo Humbert, who stunned third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.