'Hard to watch': Teenage rookie suffers scary on-court 'collapse'

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Seen here, Jack Draper is attended to by medical staff after collapsing at the Miami Open.
Jack Draper had to retire after the scary first set incident at the Miami Open. Pic: Tennis TV

British teenager Jack Draper's ATP Tour debut ended in disaster after the 19-year-old collapsed and was forced to quit during oppressive conditions at the Miami Open.

The hot and humid conditions on Court 2 appeared to have taken a toll on the 19-year-old wildcard during the first set against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin which stretched on for a brutal 81 minutes.

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With Kukushkin leading the set 6-5, Draper appeared distressed and had his heart-rate checked courtside by medical staff before deciding to continue.

Draper's return was short-lived as he fell to the ground while attempting to keep the ball in play on set point, rolling onto his back as medical staff quickly came to his aid.

It allowed Kukushkin to seal the set 7-5, prompting a clearly unwell Draper to retire.

Commentators and fans were immediately concerned for the British teenager, who slumped onto the hard surface while trying to return a routine forehand.

A concerned Kukushkin immediately came over to check that his opponent was alright as medical staff raced to Draper's aid.

Fortunately, he was able to get back to his feet and left the court with the assistance of staff.

However, the frightening incident left viewers worried for his health on social media.

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British teen 'dizzy' before he fell 

Fortunately, the 19-year-old appeared in better spirits a short time after his retirement, admitting that the conditions in Miami left him dizzy but denying that he collapsed.

"At the changeover, I was starting to feel my body a bit," Draper said.

"I said that I'm going to carry on because I wasn't feeling faint... But obviously when I got out there, that wasn't the case.

"On the last point, I didn't collapse. I actually just tripped because I was starting to feel really dizzy and stuff."

Draper had an ice pack placed on his neck at the end of the first set before he walked off court.

Pictured here, Jack Draper lies on the Miami court after becoming dizzy during his match.
Jack Draper says he felt dizzy before he slumped to the court during the first set in Miami. Pic: Tennis TV

"In the last couple of hours, I have been with physios, trying to recover as best as possible, just trying to look after myself and move forward."

Kukushkin, 33, has competed since 2005, when Draper was only three years old. 

This marks his 10th trip to Miami yet he believes he has never played in such difficult conditions.

“I believe he’s a good player, young,” Kukushkin said about the British teen after the match.

“It was a tough match, really tough conditions today. So hot and humid and really slow. 

"I’ve never played in such slow conditions. The balls after one or two games started getting so big. 

"You needed so much energy to just hit over the net. Every single game was deuce, such long rallies.”

with agencies

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