LONDON (AP) — The heat at Wimbledon on Wednesday caused a ball boy to collapse, a player to feel “dizzy” and thermometers to rise to record levels for the tournament.
In the bright sunshine in southwest London, temperatures reached 35.7 degrees Celsius (96.26 degrees Fahrenheit), according the Met Office — the highest recorded during the two-week tournament that is better known for persistent rain.
While players mostly coped well with the conditions, a ball boy collapsed during a match on one of the outside courts and needed medical treatment before being taken away on a stretcher. Organizers said he recovered quickly and was doing well.
“It was a very scary situation,” said John Isner, who was playing Matthew Ebden on Court 17 when the incident happened.
“I have heard that he’s doing much better, which is great,” the American said after winning in straight sets. “He just needs to rest up.”
So does Bernard Tomic, who needed treatment on court during his victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France after getting dizzy in the heat. The Australian said he’s had trouble sleeping all week because of the hot weather.
“I was fatigued and starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me,” Tomic said. “It was tough, so I had to slow things down. I had to catch my breath. … It was not that easy, that situation for me in the second. I was feeling bad. Hopefully I can get a good night’s sleep in tonight.”
He’ll need it before his next match against Novak Djokovic, who said he was happy to wrap up his win against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland quickly on Centre Court so he could get out of the sun.
“On this warm day, it’s good to spend a little bit less time (playing) than maybe what is possible,” Djokovic said.
Organizers kept the retractable roof over Centre Court closed in the morning to keep out the heat, then had it partially covering the spectators behind the baselines to give them shade. Among those sitting in the sun, hundreds of handheld fans flapped like butterfly wings in the stands.
Players used towels wrapped around ice to cool down during changeovers, while on Henman Hill — where fans often brave the rain as they gather outdoors to watch the matches on a big screen — umbrellas once again dotted the green slope. This time, though, they were used as makeshift parasols to shield fans from the sun.
Medical officials said dozens of fans were treated with heat-related illnesses, but no major incidents were reported.
Many of the players, though, said the heat wasn’t a big deal.
“It wasn’t — I don’t want to call it overrated, because it was very hot out there — but it wasn’t crazy bad,” Isner said. “There were a lot of clouds in the sky, which helped I think a lot.”
Like Isner, Maria Sharapova trains in Florida and said she’s used to hotter temperatures.
“It’s much warmer in my hometown of Long Boat Key, Florida,” the fourth-seeded Russian said after beating Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands in straight sets. “I think I’ve trained quite long in the heat over there. … You want to make the points quicker than normal because of the heat, just being a little bit smarter out there is the most important.”
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