LONDON: The tennis coach father-in-law of Britain’s Andy Murray has suggested a “dodgy” piece of sushi was behind his dramatic collapse at last month’s Australian Open.
There were fears that Nigel Sears had suffered a heart attack when he lay immobile courtside in Melbourne three weeks ago.
The 58-year-old Sears, the coach of 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, was taken to the nearby Epworth Hospital for treatment
Murray, whose wife Kim Sears was heavily pregnant at the time, was playing on the neighbouring court unaware of the emergency, and he rushed to see his father-in-law in hospital after coming off court.
“I just want to let everyone who was concerned know that the doctors have assured me my heart is absolutely fine,” Sears told Wednesday’s edition edition of The Times in his first interview since the incident.
“Quite honestly my timing could not have been worse, with Kim being just a few days away from giving birth.”
“One thing I am really grateful for is that nothing about my collapse got through to Andy, who was playing just a matter of yards away on Margaret Court Arena he first he knew anything was wrong was when he walked off court after winning his match against João Sousa.”
Sears said he believed an allergic reaction to some sushi he had for lunch may have been behind his collapse.
“I had sushi for lunch ten days in a row in Melbourne and was fine. But I suppose the law of averages dictates, you get one dodgy bit of raw fish in that time,” he said.
Sears’s collapse interrupted Ivanovic’s match against the USA’s Madison Keys, which the Serb eventually lost after winning the first set and leading 3-0 in the third.
“Clearly she was worried at seeing me stretchered out of the arena and they gave her the option of coming back the next day,” said Sears. “I suppose she thought she had the momentum in the match but concentration must have been difficult.”
British tennis star Murray, a former US Open and Wimbledon champion, eventually made it to the final only to lose to Novak Djokovic.
Kim Sears has since given birth to a daughter.
“I make a rule of never commenting on Andy’s tennis but, yes, I did tell him that it was important that he stuck with the tournament because Kim was fine,” said Sears. “And nobody ever knows how many more chances they will get in grand slams.”