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SportIndian Wells 2024: Alcaraz calls bee attack at tennis tournament 'most unusual...

Indian Wells 2024: Alcaraz calls bee attack at tennis tournament ‘most unusual match I have ever played’

Reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz said his Indian Wells 2024 quarter-final win over Alexander Zverev was “the most unusual match I have ever played” after the world number two was stung on the side of the head when a swarm of bees descended on court.

Umpire Mohamed Lahyani was affected by the invasion and suspended play in the third game when the bizarre incident, which required a beekeeper to visit the court and spectators to be removed from one corner, took place.

“I saw some bees around but I thought it was just a few of them,” said Alcarez, whose match was delayed by almost two hours.

“But I saw the sky and there were thousands flying, stuck in my hair, going to me. It was crazy.

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“I tried to stay away from them but it was impossible. I’m a little bit afraid of them. I had to stay safe and I was running everywhere.

“I’ve never seen something like that. It’s going to be remembered for that: not for the tennis, not for anything else, but for the bees.”

Bee invasion Indian Wells ‘unprecedented’

A statement from the organisers of the California tournament said: “This area, at this time of the year, can be a hotspot for bees, with all the flowers blooming and blossoming.

“In addition, the bees can be attracted to low frequency sound waves and music bass, as they feel the vibrations and are attracted to those locations.”

The tournament website called the situation “unprecedented”. “Players were forced to retreat to the tunnel as play was paused due to the hazardous conditions on court,” it said.

“But luckily, a local Palm Desert beekeeper was called to the rescue and able to quickly mitigate the situation. There’s truly never a dull day in ‘Tennis Paradise’.”

Alcaraz will play Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals on Saturday, calling the contest “the most difficult match that I’m going to play this year.”

Italian Sinner extended his unbeaten run to 19 matches by beating Jiri Lehecka 6-3 6-3.

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