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Olympics officials delay start of tennis matches due to Tokyo heat

Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee used several medical timeouts Wednesday during his third-round tennis match against Fabio Fognini of Italy at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE
Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee used several medical timeouts Wednesday during his third-round tennis match against Fabio Fognini of Italy at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE

July 28 (UPI) -- Start times for tennis matches at the Summer Olympics will be pushed back by four hours in response to players' recent struggles with extreme heat in Tokyo, the International Tennis Federation said Wednesday.

Organizers' extreme weather policy provides for modifications of play once the wet-bulb globe temperature reaches about 86 degrees Fahrenheit and allows 10-minute breaks when requested by men's and women's players.

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Women's No. 29 Paula Badosa of Spain retired from her quarterfinal match against No. 42 Marketa Vondrousova on Wednesday due to the weather. She was taken off the court on a wheelchair.

"The decision to start matches at 3 p.m. JST (13 hours ahead of EDT) from Thursday is possible due to the outcomes of [Wednesday's] matches across the five competitions being staged and the size of player field and is designed to further safeguard player health," the ITF said.

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"It has been made following consultation with the International Olympic Committee, Tokyo 2020, Olympic Broadcast Services, as well as the Olympic Tennis Event players, referee, medical experts and other key stakeholders."

"I am very sorry that I had to end the tournament likes this," Badosa wrote Wednesday in an Instagram post. "The conditions were very harsh and my body told me enough."

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Broadcasts for the first three days started at 10 p.m. EDT in the United States. Women's semifinals and men's quarterfinals matches will now air beginning at 2 a.m. on NBC's Olympic Channel beginning Thursday.

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Men's No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play Japan's Kei Nishikori in the second match at Centre Court on Thursday.

On Wednesday, men's No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of the Russian Olympic Committee also struggled with the heat at Ariake Tennis Park. He defeated No. 31 Fabio Fognini of Italy, but required two medical timeouts and at one point ask the official what would happen if he "died" due to the heat.

Djokovic and Medvedev also told reporters earlier this week that they wished the matches were played later in the day.

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France goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni can't stop a goal from Mexico forward Uriel Antuna (not seen) in a Men's Group A soccer match during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games on July 22. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

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