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Coach Sears 'stable' after dramatic collapse

Tennis coach Nigel Sears was in a stable condition on Sunday after a dramatic mid-match collapse at the Australian Open which prompted his son-in-law, Andy Murray, to race to his bedside.

Sears, the coach of Ana Ivanovic, was watching the former world number one's match against Madison Keys late on Saturday when he collapsed on a stairway inside Rod Laver Arena and needed lengthy emergency treatment.

Murray, whose wife Kim Sears is heavily pregnant, was playing on the neighbouring Margaret Court Arena unaware of the emergency, and he rushed to see his father-in-law in hospital after coming off court."

A hospital official said Sears was in stable condition but gave no word on his release or the nature of his complaint, citing patient confidentiality.

"Everything's good, he's stable," the official told AFP.

Reports said Murray, who has pledged to quit the tournament if his wife goes into labour, spent the night with his father-in-law at the Melbourne hospital.

The second seed was back on the practice courts on Sunday.  

Witnesses said Britain's Sears, 58, appeared to receive mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before he was stretchered out of the centre-court stadium and taken to hospital.

ESPN's courtside reporter, former player Pam Shriver, said she had been told by Ivanovic's team that Sears had complained of feeling unwell 30 minutes before the match.

The incident held up play for an hour and appeared to unnerve Ivanovic before she resumed  against Keys, eventually going down in three tight sets to the American 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

"Thank you for all your nice tweets and words of encouragement. The crowd was amazing tonight! So grateful for all my fans around the word!" Ivanovic tweeted later.

Bizarrely, Sears' collapse mirrored an incident which shook up Ivanovic during her third-round match, when an elderly spectator was badly hurt in a fall on the stadium's stairs and also needed emergency treatment.

- 'Bad luck' -

There was no word from Murray, who cancelled his press conference after his win over Portugal's Joao Sousa, as did Ivanovic and Keys.

"I just heard that Andy went direct to hospital. The good thing is he (Sears) is good, he’s conscious and speaking. So we hope there’s nothing bad and of course family and health comes first," Sousa told reporters.

"So it’s very good Andy went there to him."

Australia's Bernard Tomic, who is due to play Murray in the next round, offered his sympathies to the Briton and said he was sure the incident wouldn't affect him in their match on Monday.

"I'm very sorry. I heard briefly what happened quickly," Tomic said. "For his sake, it's bad luck. I wish him the best. I'm sure it will have no effect for him when he plays on Monday."

Tomic was also shaken by a medical drama during his opening match at the tournament when a spectator suffered a seizure, and was treated by an anti-allergy shot.

Murray married Kim Sears, his long-term partner, last April and they are expecting their first child in the coming weeks.

The four-time runner-up has promised to fly home if she goes into labour during the Australian Open, even if it means missing the final.


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