Tennis ace Jack Draper was forced to retire from his opening match at the Miami Open on Thursday after the 19-year-old collapsed on court during the finals stages of his match against Mikhail Kukushkin.
Draper, who had been handed a wildcard entry to the event, retired on the final point of the first set when, apparently physically exhausted, he collapsed in the Florida heat, prompting medical personnel to rush to his aid.
The Briton had been struggling for some time in the match. In the previous changeover he was examined by doctors and had his blood pressure checked and his temperature taken before being deemed fit to play on.
Television cameras then captured Draper appearing unsteady on his feet in the very next game before his fall. Thankfully, the teenage player was able to walk fro the court unaided.
Draper, who is ranked a lowly 316th in the world, had enjoyed several promising moments throughout against his opponent Kukushkin, who was at one point a top-40 ranked men’s player.
But the inexperienced Draper wasn’t able to capitalize and soon began feeling the effects of the sweltering Miami sunshine.
As some fans pointed out online, Draper isn’t the first player to have struggled playing in extreme temperatures: two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray also experienced similar woes in the halcyon days of his career.
He was playing well. Remember a young Murray struggling with the heat when he was Jacks age.
— Richard_holte (@richardholte87) March 25, 2021
Miami humidity is always tough
— Jose Triana (@Jose__Triana) March 25, 2021
Much like Murray was, Draper is being tipped to have a promising career on the court. Former Great Britain number one Greg Rusedski says that the experience will only serve the youngster as his career continues to develop.
“The hard part [is] he’s not used to playing at this sort of physical tempo, this sort of period of time,” Rusedski told Amazon Prime.
“It was like an hour and 10 minutes, every point was brutal and it’s a step up in class. He has to learn from this situation, get the ice towel out from game one: ‘I’ve got to make sure I hydrate.’
“I’m sure he will recover from that. That was the positive from the end of that match.”