Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem had a scary run-in with a venomous snake during a match at Brisbane International on Saturday in Australia.
Thiem, who won the U.S. Open in 2020, was playing in a qualifying match on Saturday when spectators noticed the snake on the courtside. Thiem was trailing Australian James McCabe in the first-round match at the time.
The snake eventually made its way onto the actual court, much to the apparent surprise of both players and fans. Security staff eventually corralled the snake and safely removed it.
Thiem said the close call with the snake was something that he would remember.
“I really love animals, especially exotic ones,” Thiem said. “But they said it was a really poisonous snake, and it was close to the ballkids, so it was a really dangerous situation.
“It’s something that has never happened to me and is something I’ll definitely never forget.”
The snake — identified as a 50-centimeter eastern brown snake and one of Australia’s most deadly reptiles — was soon safely removed, allowing play to resume.
But Thiem was not yet out of danger as he had to save three match points before leveling the match by winning the second set tiebreak. The 30-year-old then went on to clinch the deciding set for a 2-6. 7-6 (4), 6-4 win.
The Austrian, currently ranked No. 98 after several years with a troublesome wrist injury, will face either Italian Giulio Zeppieri or another Australian, Omar Jasika, in the final qualifying round tomorrow.
Thiem reached the final of the Australian Open in 2020 when he pushed champion Novak Djokovic to five sets and won the US Open later that year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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