Grasping for Air: Heat a Major Issue at Olympic Tennis Venue

Heat a Major Issue at Olympic Tennis Venue

When the Olympic tennis competition began on Saturday, heat and humidity immediately became a big concern. The temperature rose to 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius), with a heat index of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 C).

As she put bags of ice up her skirt on a changeover midway through Pavlyuchenkova’s second set, questions began to seep into her mind. She then struggled to manipulate a tube blowing chilly air close to her seat.

“You’re just not feeling great,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “So I wasn’t enjoying it at all”. Ice melted in court-side containers. “Every time I had to take the ice pack or ice towel it wasn’t cold at all.”

After her match, Pavlyuchenkova needed more than an hour to recover before speaking to media.

“You feel constantly dehydrated,” said Djokovic. “There’s no circulation of the air.”

On one of her serves, Barthel totally lost sight of the ball. “I was dazzled by the sun,” the German player stated. “I was no longer able to see it.”

“But you have to play,” Medvedev said. “That’s the Olympics, you go for the medal. You are not here to cry about the heat.”

To avoid the heat of the day, Medvedev recommended that all matches be moved to the evening.

“I think they somehow could have tried to make it a bit easier,” Pavlyuchenkova said.

Djokovic agreed.

If players request it, there are regulations that call for a 10-minute rest between the second and third sets in excessive heat. If an internal advisory panel judges the conditions unsafe, play will resume on center court beneath a retractable canopy.

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Brett Haber

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