Carlos Alcaraz attacked by swarm of bees as Indian Wells match suspended

Carlos Alcaraz attacked by swarm of bees as Indian Wells match suspended

There were bizarre scenes on quarter-final day at Indian Wells as Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev had to leave the court when a swarm of bees took over. The world No. 2 was seen running before the chair umpire announced that the match couldn’t continue due to a “bee invasion”. It later emerged that Alcaraz had been stung on the forehead during the ordeal. A beekeeper was called in to intervene and the player eventually resumed more than 90 minutes after the match was suspended.

Alcaraz and Zverev came out to contest their Indian Wells quarter-final but they lasted just 18 minutes on court before one of the most unusual match suspensions in recent history. As he stepped up to serve at 1-1, the Spaniard appeared to be bothered by something and looked up to see a swarm of bees flying through the air.

Chair umpire Mohamed Lahyahi quickly realised what was going on. “Play cannot continue, pause for a while here now,” the official announced as Alcaraz fled the court, trying to protect his head as he appeared to get stung. Zverev claimed that there were no bees in his half of the court but they quickly made their way across the stadium as fans in the crowd were left gasping and attempted to swat them away.

“Oh my goodness,” commentator Adam Fielder explained as footage of the bees swamping the on-court spider camera was shown. “That is obviously very popular with bees,” Robbie Koenig quipped. The umpire then returned to the court to announce that the match had officially been suspended due to a “bee invasion”.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before,” Koenig continued. “I don’t know if it’s all the rain we had, coming into spring, instigating a hatch.” And his co-commentator raised another question, adding: “Everyone has taken cover and the problem is, how long can this last? How do you get rid of them?”

It seemed to be a tall task, as the swarm continued to build up on the spider cam with thousands of bees flocking to the main show court in Indian Wells, with plenty more seen flying around the stadium. Play continued on Stadium 2, which remained free of the invasion as Coco Gauff contested her match against Yue Yuan.

As Alcaraz and Zverev waited to return to the court, the Spaniard’s manager Albert Molina appeared on El Partidazo de COPE, reporting that the two-time Major winner had been stung on the forehead. Meanwhile, a beekeeper was called in to intervene while the fire service and an ambulance also turned up.

Alcaraz and Zverev watched on bemused as the beekeeper – identified as Lance Davis, the president of Killer Bee Live Removal – high-fived fans and took selfies with them as he entered the stands to clear more bees away from the players’ boxes.

When the beekeeper finally vacated the court, the defending champion and the world No. 6 started to warm up just over 90 minutes after the match was first suspended. There were still a few bees in the air but Davis informed the players that there wasn’t much they could do and they eventually resumed, with Alcaraz holding after abandoning the third game at 15-0 on his serve.