British teenager Jack Draper’s ATP Tour debut ended abruptly after he collapsed on court during his first-round match at the Miami Open against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin on Thursday.
The sunny, humid and hot conditions on Court 2 appeared to have taken a toll on the 19-year-old wild card during the first set, which lasted 81 minutes.
With Kukushkin leading the set 6-5, Draper appeared distressed and he 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.
“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.
“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.”
With Kukushkin sealing the set 7-5, Draper retired. Draper revealed that he also had a serious fight with COVID-19 earlier in the year.
“I was out for two weeks with Covid in January.
“I didn’t move a muscle and that was after pre-season as well, so I put in a really good pre-season and then I didn’t play so it’s been a rough start to the year.
“I got it, it’s obviously an extremely aggressive virus and you can catch it from anywhere, but I got it and it did affect me quite badly for seven days.
“I had bad symptoms and then I recovered pretty quickly from there, but it definitely had an effect on me.
“I’ve put in loads of great training since then, so it’s no excuse, but did it have an effect on me at the time? Probably.
“With a lot of these things you don’t know how much it really affects you.”
Draper had an ice pack placed on his neck at the end of the first set before he walked off court.