Tennis

CoCo Vandeweghe explains bizarre refusal to warm up with opponent

After facing immense criticism over her actions at the Koser Jewelers Tennis Challenge, American tennis player CoCo Vandeweghe is explaining her actions.

The 29-year-old was blasted by fans and reporters — who referred to her as “petulant” and “abysmal” — for refusing to chase after balls during a warm-up with opponent Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze.

Before the third set, the match was suspended due to extreme heat, with each player having won one set. When the former world No. 9 and Gorgodze returned to the court, Vandeweghe lightly hit the ball over the net during the warm-up, but nothing more. She even switched to her non-dominant hand for forehands, clearly not interested in warming up.

Now Vandeweghe wants to explain her bizarre action.

The American said she’s been suffering from a “severe sinus infection” that negatively impacted her breathing during the match. Combined with the extreme heat, she found herself weary during the second set.

“By the end of the second set my entire body was cramping intensely and I had extreme nausea. I struggled to finish,” she said.

“After the (heat) suspension was lifted my opponent requested a warm-up; I informed the umpire that I preferred to skip the warm-up, citing my exhaustion and general illness in an attempt to conserve energy for what would be a grueling third set under the conditions.

“I attempted to conserve as much energy as possible during the warm-up in preparation to compete with all of my ability in the third set.”

Vandeweghe added that she requested that Gorgodze warm up with her coach, which is allowed under ITF rules, but they declined and once again requested that Vandeweghe warm up with her opponent.

After two games, the third set was suspended because of rain.

Vandeweghe withdrew from the match after its second suspension after experiencing the lingering effects of heat exhaustion in the morning. In the second round, Gorgodze fell to British teen phenom Emma Raducanu.

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