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Nigel Sears to be released from hospital after collapse at Australian Open

Ana Ivanovic's British coach Nigel Sears was due to be released from a Melbourne hospital on Sunday afternoon, having been dramatically carried from courtside at Rod Laver Arena after collapsing early in the second set of Ivanovic's loss to Madison Keys on Saturday night.

A bloodied Sears, 58, the father of Andy Murray's pregnant wife, Kim, was immediately treated with an IV and oxygen, and had several ECG and blood tests after leaving Melbourne Park in an ambulance. He had reportedly started feeling unwell about half an hour before the match.

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"He had a couple of tests, he's doing well, and he'll be going home this afternoon," a hospital spokesperson told Fairfax Media.

The Australian Open released a statement on Sunday afternoon, with comment from Sears.

"My medical advice is that I will be allowed to leave the hospital shortly and I have been cleared to fly back to the UK in the next day or so," Sears said.

"I just wanted to express my sincerest thanks to the incredible people who came to my aid, as well as the brilliant staff both at the Australian Open and the Epworth Hospital.


"I feel truly grateful to everyone involved for the manner in which this has been handled. While I appreciate the level of media interest in this story I would prefer not to comment any further, thanks." 

Tournament director Craig Tiley wished Nigel all the best in his recovery.

"All of the tennis family is both relieved and  pleased to hear that Nigel is being released from hospital. We wish him well and hope to see him back on the court soon."

Murray, with his mother Judy, went straight to visit his father-in-law after finishing his own four-set match against Portugal's Joao Sousa, while Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett, who is working at the Australian Open as an assistant referee, accompanied Sears in the ambulance.

"It was very worrying to begin with and when I saw him lying on the steps he looked so grey facially," Jarrett said. "But I was a lot happier when I left the hospital than when I arrived. He was totally conscious and talking very normally. All he wanted to know was how Ana's match was going.

"I'm not quite sure how all the blood ended up on the steps. I saw no sign of Nigel cutting his head at all but the sleeve of his tracksuit was blooded and maybe the medics pushed something into his arm."

The Ivanovic-Keys match was interrupted for about an hour by the distressing incident, with both players given the option not to continue, but choosing to resume. Sears' daughter Kim is at home in the UK and due to give birth next month.

Murray was not required by tournament organisers to stay on the court for the traditional winner's interview on Saturday night. His mother met him as he walked off the court, and the two went straight to the tournament's transportation office, from which they were driven away. 

Ivanovic and Keys were also allowed to skip their post-match media obligations. The tournament provided statements from each player about the matches but did not mention the scare that had transformed the evening.

"Obviously it was a tough match," Ivanovic's statement read.

"I really wanted to win and have a chance to come back... Obviously a little bit disappointed."

Murrays only comment was confined to his match.

"It was tricky. I didn't feel great," he said in a statement. "It was good to get through that one."

Murray, the world No.2 and a four-time Australian Open runner-up, was scheduled to practise at Melbourne Park late on Sunday in preparation for Monday's fourth-round clash with Australian 16th seed Bernard Tomic.

In an unnerving coincidence, Ivanovic's second round match was also suspended after a spectator fell down the stairs at the same show court on Thursday.

with New York Times, Reuters