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23 Jan, 2016 15:15

Ivanovic coach Nigel Sears collapses during Australian Open match

Ivanovic coach Nigel Sears collapses during Australian Open match

Nigel Sears - Ana Ivanovic's coach and Andy Murray's father-in-law - collapsed in the stands at the Australian Open on Saturday and was taken to the hospital injured but conscious. Play was suspended for almost an hour but later resumed.

Sears, 58, was leaving the courtside players’ box at the Rod Laver Arena in the interval after the first game of the second set when he collapsed.

He was immediately attended to by medics, who placed Sears on a stretcher and put him on an oxygen tank before taking him out of the arena.

As news filtered through from the hospital that Sears was conscious and talking, Ivanovic, seeded 20th, returned to the court to continue the game after having warmed up in the parking lot.

However, the former world number 1's concentration was shaken by the incident, and having won the first set 6-4 and leading 1-0 in second set before the incident, she lost the next two sets 4-6, 4-6 to hand her opponent Madison Keys, seeded 15th, the win.

At the time of the incident Andy Murray was playing his match against 32nd seed Joao Sousa on the Margaret Court Arena less than 100 meters away.

While the news of Sears' collapse filtered through on social media and to the Murray camp courtside, they seemingly chose not to inform him while the match continued. 


Murray's partner, Kim, who is Nigel Sears’ daughter, is expecting the pair's first child in the next few weeks and Murray has already said that he would leave mid-tournament if he heard that his wife was about to give birth.

With Nick Sears' condition reported to be stable, it would seem to be a deliberate choice by Murray's camp to allow him to continue focusing on his match.

Murray beat the talented Portuguese Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and progressed to the next round, where he will face either John Millman or Bernard Tomic, both Australian, on Monday.

Immediately after the win, Murray and his mother Judy were whisked away from the venue to go to the hospital to visit Sears. Andy's brother Jamie Murray told the press that Sears was "conscious, talking and sitting up.”

It is the second time in this Australian Open that a match involving Ivanovic has been stopped - her second round match on Thursday was suspended for 30 minutes after a spectator fell in the stands.