Carlos Alcaraz - Australian Open 2024

Carlos Alcaraz progresses despite ‘most unusual’ bee invasion

Carlos Alcaraz has continued his Indian Wells title defence, however his quarter-final victory over Alexander Zverev was dominated by a lengthy delay after ‘thousands’ of bees swarmed the court. 

Alcaraz avenged his quarter-final defeat at the Australian Open after beating Zverev, 6-3 6-1, to reach the Indian Wells semi-finals for a third consecutive year.

Despite this, the main talking point of the match came when Alcaraz was serving at 1-1 15-0 in the first set, when bees appeared to suddenly swarm the stadium.

Players quickly left the court, with Alcaraz seemingly being stung on the head, and the match did not continue for another hour and 30 minutes.

Alcaraz spoke about the situation after winning his 10th consecutive match at Indian Wells, “For sure, it is the most unusual match I have ever played in my career. I’ve never experienced something like that. I’ve never seen something like that. I think I will remember that match because of that. I think everybody will remember this situation, and we found it a funny thing, that’s for sure.”

The Spaniard continued, “I won the first point of the third game of the match, and I was ready to serve to the next point. I saw some bees around, but I thought it was just a few of them — just not too many. But I saw the sky and there was thousands, thousands flying, stuck in my hair, going to me.

“It was crazy. 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 yeah, I was running everywhere.”

Alcaraz had previously struggled in the head-to-head against Zverev, losing five of their nine meetings before the match, but suggested that his focus helped him last night in California.

“When we stepped on court [after the delay], there were a few bees in the corner that were bothering us,” said Alcaraz. “We couldn’t start playing again. When we decided to warm up a little bit to see how it goes, I was just hitting some balls and saw some bees around me, so I couldn’t stay focused on the ball. I was focused on the bees and tried to stay away from them.

“So that’s why we stopped a few more times before the match began again, but after that we decided to warm up again and I saw that the bees weren’t around anymore. Just one or two, so I tried to not think about the bees anymore. I tried to stay focused on the ball, stay focused on the point.”

Alcaraz will look to reach a second consecutive Indian Wells final tomorrow when he plays rival Jannik Sinner, who is currently on 19-match winning streak.

There will also be repercussions in terms of ranking, with the winner of the match claiming the No.2 spot after the tournament.

Inside the baseline…

Tennis really does have you questioning reality at times, and yesterday’s bee invasion was certainly one of those moments. Despite all of the craziness, it was a very impressive and professional performance from Carlos Alcaraz, who appears to be looking himself again after a mixed start to the season. All eyes will be on the semi-final match against Jannik Sinner, even more so with a significant ranking change potentially about to take place.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.