Between record-breaking performances and awe-inspiring feats of athleticism, the “brutal” heat beating down on Olympians at the Tokyo Games has garnered more headlines than the athletes would hope.

“I can finish the match but I can die,” Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev told an umpire on Wednesday. “If I die, are you going to be responsible?”

Jeremy Chardy, of France, cools off during a quarterfinal men’s tennis match against Alexander Zverev, of Germany, at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After honing forehands, backhands and overhead strikes for years, tennis stars like Medvedev and the legendary Novak Djokavic are struggling to return Mother Nature’s most brutal serve: sweltering heat.

“The conditions are brutal,” Djokovic, the No.1 seeded player at the Games, told The Associated Press. “I’ve played tennis professionally now 20 years, and I’ve never faced this kind of conditions in my entire life on a consecutive daily basis.”

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