Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic had to retire from her qualifying match at the Australian Open on Tuesday following a coughing fit caused by smoky conditions from wildfires raging through Australia.
Jakupovic, 28, was in the second set of her match against Switzerland’s Stefanie Vögele at Melbourne Park when she fell to her knees and coughed uncontrollably.
Officials came over to tend to Jakupovic, who could not go on with the match.
Jakupovic eventually stood up and was helped off the court, and the match was called for Vögele.
"I was really scared that I would collapse," Jakupovic said, according to ESPN. "That's why I went onto the floor, because I couldn't walk anymore. I don't have asthma and never had breathing problems. I actually like heat.”
Jakupovic said not even a doctor could help her return to action.
"The physio came again, and I thought it would be better. But the points were a bit longer, and I just couldn't breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor," she said.
Jakupovic was not the only one whose play was compromised due to the air conditions created by the wildfires.
Australian Bernard Tomic had to call for a doctor during the second set of his match against American Denis Kudla.
“I just can’t breathe,” he said. He eventually returned to his match before falling in straight sets.
Jakupovic said she thought it was wrong for players to compete, given the conditions.
"It's not healthy for us," she said. "I was surprised — I thought we would not be playing today, but we don't have much choice."
Qualifying matches had been suspended due to poor air quality before play began 11 a.m. local time.