Daniil Medvedev cools down against Andrey Rublev of Russia during their men's singles quarterfinal match.

Daniil Medvedev cools down against Andrey Rublev of Russia during their men's singles quarterfinal match. / Getty Images

Players in one of tennis' biggest events are facing scorching September temperatures.

Who are we talking about? The dozens of athletes competing in the U.S. Open in New York City, who are suffering through muggy temps that are cracking the 90s.

  • It's a problem that is exacerbated with the impacts of climate change. One recent analysis from the Associated Press found that the average temperatures during the U.S. Open and other major tennis tournaments have steadily increased over the past decades.
  • At one point during Wednesday's quarterfinal between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Medvedev turned to the camera and said: "One player is gonna die. And they're gonna see."
  • The world no. 3 followed up after the match, saying: "It was brutal ... At the end of the first set, I kind of couldn't see the ball anymore."

What's the big deal? The high heat is grueling for players and may also change how the tournaments are structured and played.

  • This year, a new rule was implemented to partially close the roof at the main stadium, Arthur Ashe, in an attempt to provide more shade for players.
  • However, the roof being closed has now resulted in less breezes flowing through, with some players noting the impacts of these weather conditions on their game.
  • After facing off against each other, Medvedev and Rublev both were visibly exhausted, with Medvedev immediately covering himself in ice.

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What are people saying?

Here are Medvedev's more considered thoughts after his win on Wednesday about what could be done:

Julia Elbaba, a former professional tennis player and current sports journalist for NBC, is covering the U.S. Open, and spoke with All Things Considered's Juana Summers about how this heat is affecting the game:

With the heat rule, the women — in singles, they get a 10-minute break between 2nd and 3rd set. They get to go into the air-conditioning, change their clothes, ice all over your body. And then on the men's side, they get a 10-minute break between the 3rd and 4th set. That could be three or four hours.

Maybe [we need] more breaks. Any time you can just get into that air-conditioning and cool off, bring that body temperature down, it really would make a huge impact. Another idea is, when the roof closes, why don't we put some air in there, which they're not doing right now. So we got to consider: how can we change this? How can we make it more comfortable for the players? 

And former tennis star John McEnore had his say on ESPN about what he believes the United States Tennis Association should do:

These poor guys today [Medvedev and Rublev] ... they looked like they're going to fall over. It's not humane in a way. I'm sorry. Please, USTA, in the future, I think, seriously we should close the roof.

So, what now?

  • High temperatures in New York show no sign of ceasing until Saturday, where possible rainfall could drop temperatures a few degrees.
  • And the tournament carries on, with the women's singles final on Saturday and the men's singles final on Sunday.

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