Highly venomous snake holds up play during Dominic Thiem qualifying match in Brisbane

Highly venomous snake holds up play during Dominic Thiem qualifying match in Brisbane

A dangerous situation played out at the Brisbane International on Saturday when a deadly poisonous snake forced a suspension of play during a match involving former US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

Thiem was taking on Australian youngster James McCabe in a qualifying match and ultimately saved three match points on the way to a 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 victory.

But the Austrian didn't just have to contend with dropping the first set - his second-set fightback was interrupted when a snake - later identified as an Eastern brown - slithered onto the court.

The Eastern brown (Pseudonaja textilis) is a highly venomous species of snake found in Australia and is considered one of the most venomous land snakes in the world.

The umpire had to temporarily stop play when the snake made its presence known. A snake catcher eventually managed to capture the 50-centimetre reptile and removed it from the court, allowing play to continue.

"I really love animals, especially exotic ones," Thiem said. "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."

Thiem, a former World No 3, reached the final of the Australian Open in 2020 and won the US Open later that year, but a troublesome wrist injury has seriously derailed his career in recent years.

He is slowly fighting his way back into contention, however, and has improved his world ranking from being outside the top 300 to being back in the top 100.

Rafael Nadal will be making his long-awaited return from injury at the Brisbane International, and is set to play a qualifier in next week's first round.

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