First round US Open match ends in heart scare and tears
SPECTATORS at the US Open were stunned when Felix Auger-Aliassime retired from his first round match against Denis Shapovalov after tearfully complaining about problems with his heart.
The 18-year-old was inconsolable as he pulled out of the clash against his fellow Canadian during the third set.
Shapovalov won the opener 7-5 before Auger-Aliassime hit back to win the second by the same scoreline. On a hot day in New York, the teenager had called for the doctor after clutching at his heart and having difficulty breathing.
There was real concern for him as he lay on the ground in obvious distress. He wanted to withdraw but his opponent - who is also a good friend - was full of encouragement for him.
"Just try your best, keep going," Shapovalov said.
Auger-Aliassime kept pushing but it all became too much for him when down 4-1 in the third set. He said he felt faint and his heart was racing.
The teenager was distraught as he pulled the plug, sobbing uncontrollably. But Shapovalov once again showed incredible sportsmanship, embracing him at the net as he tried to console his heartbroken foe. While they hugged, Shapovalov said: "You played a f***ing great match."
Auger-Aliassime apologised to the crowd as he left the court and Shapovalov continued his classy display in the face of the rival teenager's nightmare.
"It's actually really tough to see him going out like this," Shapovalov said. "I told him at the net we're going to be back here, we're going to play so many of these."
Early reports suggest Auger-Aliassime has had problems with his heart before after being diagnosed with "tachycardia", which forced him to retire from a Challenger event in Guadeloupe in 2017.
The scary incident on Tuesday (AEST) shocked tennis reporters who witnessed it.
World No. 28 Shapovalov, 19, is the youngest player in the ATP top 100. Auger-Aliassime, ranked 117 in the world, turned 18 on August 8, making him youngest player in the ATP top 200.
Their combined age made this the youngest US Open men's match since 2006, when Novak Djokovic, 19, beat Donald Young, 17.