It’s very hot in New York, which is currently hosting the US Open, one of four Grand Slam tournaments of the year. On Wednesday, there was an extremely muggy heat of 34 degrees in Flushing Meadows Park. These are conditions that push the pros to the limits of their resilience. And if your name is Daniil Medvedev, you say things like: “A player will die and you will see.”

When the number three in the world rankings from Russia made the statement in front of a camera, she was playing in the quarterfinals against compatriot Andrej Rublev. Following the winning match, Medvedev did not back down. On the contrary: in view of the sweltering heat, it stimulated a debate about how to deal with the difficult conditions.

After the game, Medvedev reported in his own style that he no longer had skin on his nose and several parts of his face because he had dried himself so often with a towel. After the three-set win, he was initially unable to see properly. “We don’t want something to happen and then say, ‘Oh my God, Medvedev said that a few years ago,'” the 27-year-old said.

However, the tennis player admitted at the same time that he could not present a solution. “Thing is, I don’t know what we can do.” Stopping the tournament for a few days during the heatwave would “ruin everything”. “Could we only play three more sets in these conditions? Some guys wouldn’t be happy with that,” he said. In Grand Slam tournaments, up to five sets are played in men’s singles.

Even only playing in the evenings is not an option because it is hot and humid in New York in September. “I don’t have any real solutions, but it’s still better to talk about it before something happens,” said Medvedev.

The world number three was treated during the game, given an inhaler spray and complained of breathing problems. His opponent didn’t want to blame the weather for the defeat. “I don’t think about my health. In these moments I just think that I have to fight,” said Rublev. A new rule meant Arthur Ashe Stadium’s roof was partially closed to provide additional sun protection.

“I found it brutal. It was very, very, very hot in the first set. It was like being in the sauna,” reported Laura Siegemund after her doubles game, in which she reached the semifinals with Russian Vera Swonarewa at lunchtime at Louis Armstrong Stadium had moved in. At times she even had problems with the bat: “It was so humid that I couldn’t hold the blade.”