C is for Chinese; food takes out tennis players

David Ferrer of Spain, ranked fifth in the world, retired from his first-round match Tuesday in Beijing at the China Open, stopping his match against Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan at 5-4 in the first set. The reason for Ferrer’s midmatch retirement, his first such forfeit since 2009, was listed as a stomach virus.

The New York Times reports Ferrer’s retirement came one day after 24th-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia retired in the third set of her first-round match against Polona Hercog of Slovenia, a qualifier, citing a G.I. illness.

Though only the second Chinese tournament of the year, the China Open is not the first to be troubled by such problems, perhaps not surprising given China’s heavily scrutinized record on food safety.

Two weeks earlier at a W.T.A. tournament in Guangzhou, there were three exits attributed to gastrointestinal illness. Top-seeded Marion Bartoli of France retired in the first set of her first-round match, then Olga Govortsova of Belarus retired after losing the first set of her second-round match against Alize Cornet of France. Later that day, it was Cornet who withdrew from her doubles match because of gastrointestinal issues. Alexandra Panova of Russia and Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan also withdrew midway through matches in Guangzhou, citing the possibly stomach-exacerbated issues of “heat illness” and “dizziness.”

Though the aforementioned are confirmed examples of stomach issues forcing players out of competition, it is difficult to determine. Since there is little risk of long-term damage from playing through digestive discomfort compared to a joint or muscle injury, the incidence of players who decide to soldier on is likely a much higher percentage than for other afflictions.

Norovirus plagued tennis tourney

Norovirus was the cause of some cases of nausea, diarrhea and chills that afflicted players and staff at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in March.

The Riverside County Department of Disease said Monday the illness knocked several top players out of the world-class BNP event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

“Some individuals were tested and we did have some positive results for norovirus,” said Barbara Cole, director of disease control for the Riverside County Department of Health.

“We did have some people that were linked to the tournament, but we can’t say definitively that everyone who was ill had norovirus.”

Among the players who withdrew from the event were Nikolay Davydenko, Vani King, Gaels Monfils, Francesa Schiovone and doubles specialist Mike Bryan. Both women’s No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka and men’s champion Roger Federer complained about symptoms during the two-week event, though Federer insisted he had the illness before arriving in Indian Wells.

Minnesota students sickened in Florida at tennis tournament

WDIO.com, Duluth’s eyewitness news leader, is reporting that nearly two dozen players from the College of St. Scholastica‘s tennis teams fell ill in Florida over the weekend after travelling from Duluth, Minn. to participate in a tournament.

Althetes said doctors treated them for E. coli, and suspect it could have come from a swimming pool in a hotel. Ten of 31 students and coaches that made the trip to Orlando came home to the college as planned. The others, we’ve been told, came home late or were heading home Monday evening.

Athletes said 21 got sick Saturday, the day after their tennis competition wrapped up.

Four athletes stayed in Orlando to go to the hospital, athletes said. Then, on the way home, during a layover in Atlanta, they said 17 others went to the hospital to get checked out.

No one had to spend the night in a hospital, but athletes said some did need to be hydrated via IV.

Athletes describe students feeling sick to their stomachs, and report many throwing up either in Orlando, or on the plane ride to Atlanta.

Those involved wanted to express their thanks to college staff and coaches for responding well to the situation, and for taking good care of them.

Tennis and hockey and barf

An outbreak of illness might have more to do with the final results than the actual tennis at the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, California, which is about to move into its second week.

In late-in-the-day matches Sunday, third-seeded Petra Kvitova, last year’s Wimbledon champion, was ousted by fast-rising American Christina McHale, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, and said afterward that she had been ill, had taken antibiotics and had "lost a bit of my fitness."

Roger Federer went through his opponent, Denis Kudla of the U.S., 6-4, 6-1, and then, looking pale and sounding hoarse, admitted afterward in his news conference that he wasn’t feeling well, nor were members of his family.

"I’m the best off in the family," he said.

At least eight players have defaulted since the tournament began, most of them complaining of a stomach virus.

In Michigan, the Taylor Sportsplex was evacuated Sunday after an unknown illness swept a wave of hockey players into local emergency rooms, according to officials.?

Fire Chief Bob Tompos said about 20-25 high-school-age hockey players got sick simultaneously with apparent flu-like symptoms, causing several players to vomit on benches and inside the locker room.??

The sudden occurrance prompted a call to the fire department to investigate the building as the sick players began heading to nearby hospitals with families. Some went by ambulance if parents weren’t yet on the scene.??"Rather than make them wait, we wanted to err on the side of caution," Tompos said, "so they were transported [by ambulance] with implied consent." An official evacuation was called about 10:30 p.m.

Firefighters first checked the building’s air quality to rule out issues like unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.??"The oxygen level was fine, so we weren’t too concerned about that," Tompos said, adding that other samples from the Sportsplex — including the water supply — will immediately be sent to an independent lab in the morning for analysis.?? Unseasonably warm temperatures and possibly the crowd’s size caused the air conditioning system to unexpectantly kick on, so air duct samples also will get tested, Tompos said.??

Food poisoning forces withdrawal at US Open

The first Irishman to play at the U.S. Open, Conor Niland, withdrew during his first-round match against Novak Djokovic after suffering food poisoning following a meal of pork and salad at a fancy Manhattan restaurant.

"I got sick everywhere after my 30-minute warm-up. I thought I could bluff my way through but you can’t do that against the number one in the world, I just found out. I thought I was going to vomit after long points. I just felt really, really rotten out there."

The barf did me in: Djokovic loses at Australian Open

Reuters reports that Novak Djokovic was lamenting a case of gastroenteritis after he lost his Australian Open quarter-final to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Serb had just won the third set to take a 2-1 lead and Tsonga looked deflated before Djokovic left Rod Laver Arena after he told chair umpire John Blom he needed to vomit.

While he managed to return, his game melted away and Tsonga ran out a 7-6, 6-7, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 victor to set up a semi-final against Roger Federer, after the Swiss came from a set down to defeat Russian Nikolay Davydenko in four sets.

"I don’t want to find excuses for my loss, but, you know, I went to vomit and I had diarrhoea before the match. After two games (of the fourth set) I had to go to the toilet. I couldn’t hold on. There was no way, otherwise I would throw up on the court… just a terrible feeling."

Djokovic said he was unsure as to what had caused the sickness, as he had not eaten anything out of the ordinary.

The victorious Tsonga said Djokovic’s illness was just part of the game.

"Sometimes it happens. … He had problems with his stomach… bad luck for him and good for luck for me."