Tokyo Olympics tennis tournament causing aggravation over weather
Anyone who regularly watches tennis will know that one of the key factors for any player is durability. Being able to handle the conditions without losing focus is essential, as even a small mishandling of the ball can lead to losing a tournament. As such, the conditions need to be as suitable as possible so that players can both reach a high level of play and stay safe as exhaustion kicks in.
Therefore, the sheer challenge that has existed around the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the current weather has caused much consternation. The first sign of how severe the weather was for playing within was seen in the most worrying way: Spanish tennis star Paula Badosa being carried away from the court in a wheelchair.
This came after she suffered from heatstroke during the match. A storm had previously clouded over, but by Tuesday it was back to maximum heat and thus dangerous playing conditions. Tennis is one of the most high-intensity sports played professionally, and the weather has become a major issue for most players taking part.
The sheer heat and humidity, as well as the stagnation in the air, has become a clear talking point. Badosa was forced to exit from a prestigious Quarter Final against Marketa Vondrousouva because she was unable to continue due to heatstroke. The heat became incredibly hard to manage, forcing her to need support from a wheelchair just to get off the court.
Have other players found the heat in Tokyo challenging?
Absolutely – Badosa is merely the player who has been most seriously impacted. Other players have raged against the conditions, including Daniil Medvedev. The player has been one of the loudest voices on the ATP side of the tennis circuit to complain about the weather and the poor scheduling that has blighted the tournament so far.
The player, who has been critical of the Japanese scheduling so far, overcame Fabio Fognini in a tough Third Round match-up. During the match, he could be heard talking to the umpire about the heat, saying: “I can finish the match, but I can die. If I die, who will take responsibility?”
“I don’t understand why they don’t start matches at, say, 3pm,” Medvedev mused after a gruelling match. He added: “We still have seven hours to play. They have lights on all the courts.”
Speaking about the challenge of playing the first match in such conditions, he added: “You feel you have weights on your shoulders because there’s so much heat and humidity and stagnated air”.
As it stands, there is no information about what can be done to try and save the tennis of the 2020 Olympics event. Players are struggling, the standard is dipping, and many players are simply unhappy to have a key career moment – representing your country at the Olympics – tarnished by poor weather and scheduling.
While it is likely that the show will have to go on, the rumblings over weather could certainly spark up a storm that goes on for years to come.