The match between James McCabe and Dominic Thiem for the main draw of the Brisbane tournament was abandoned after almost 40 minutes after a snake invaded the pitch.
Heatwave in Brisbane. This tournament, often synonymous with a dress rehearsal before the Australian Open, will begin this Sunday in terms of the main draw, but qualifiers have already begun. And the meeting between James McCabe and Dominic Thiem had to be interrupted this Saturday for a very specific reason.
The Australian athlete had just won the first set against the Austrian player when a snake was noticed on the court in front of the spectators. Security personnel were called and the referee decided that play would be stopped while he was caught.
You can’t make it up: Did a 50cm eastern brown snake, considered the world’s second most venomous snake, disrupt the Thiem-McCabe qualifying fight in Brisbane?
(Video via Lblklk on Reddit) pic.twitter.com/QI5izBr6HN
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) 30 December 2023
The reptile was a 50 cm long eastern brown snake. It was a snake classified as one of the most poisonous land snakes in the world and its venom was lethal to humans. The match could restart after a 40-minute break.
On the sporting side, Dominic Thiem saved three match points before winning three sets. “I really love animals, especially exotic animals,” he said, noting the winner of the 2020 US Open. “But they said it was a very poisonous snake and it was close to the ball pickers, which made it very dangerous.”
— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) 30 December 2023
“This is something that has never happened to me before and I will never forget.” The Austrian, who is back to 98th in the world rankings, still needs to win a match in Brisbane to reach the main draw. He may find Rafael Nadal, who returns to competition, in the first round.