Dominic Thiem’s Brisbane International victory interrupted by venomous snake on court

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A highly venomous snake interrupted play during Dominic Thiem’s victory against James McCabe at the Brisbane International qualifying event.

Former US Open champion Thiem was a set down to Australian McCabe when the snake was spotted near the courtside electrical wires.

A 40-minute break in play followed while the reptile was safely removed by a professional snake catcher.

“I really love animals, especially exotic ones,” Thiem said afterwards.

“But they said it was a really poisonous snake and it was close to the ball kids, so it was a really dangerous situation.

“It’s something that has never happened to me and is something I’ll definitely never forget.”

The animal was identified as a highly venomous eastern brown snake and was approximately 50cm in length.

Following the delay, Thiem recovered to win 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 and advance to the second and final round of qualifying for the Brisbane International.

The Austrian, who has slipped to 98th in the world rankings after injury struggles, is also expected to play in the qualifying draw for the Australian Open, which starts on 14 January.

Former world number one Rafael Nadal will mark his return in Brisbane on Sunday in a doubles match alongside Marc Lopez.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been recovering from a hip injury that required surgery in June.

Naomi Osaka is also returning to tennis in the women’s draw following her maternity leave and will face Tamara Korpatsch on Monday.

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