Dominic Thiem’s Brisbane International qualifying match against Australian James McCabe was suspended for 40 minutes on Saturday after a poisonous snake slithered courtside.
McCabe had just wrapped up the first set 6-2 against the Austrian 2020 US Open champion when the reptile – reportedly an eastern brown snake – was spotted among electrical wires on the side of the court in front of spectators.
Play was halted until a snake catcher arrived and managed to tease it into a bag.
Eastern browns are capable of delivering a potent bite and their venom can result in progressive paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding, according to the website of the Australian Museum.
Australia is home to 20 of the world’s 25 most venomous, but deaths from bites are rare.
Thiem eventually won the match to move within one victory of the main draw.
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