Iguana Stops Play, Runs On Court At Miami Open
You've probably seen mosquitoes swarm players or moths hop on the court at night. But a giant iguana sitting on a scoreboard and refusing to budge during an ATP World Tour match?
Miami Open fans probably couldn't believe what they were seeing on Wednesday evening as Tommy Haas and Jiri Vesely battled on Court 1 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. The score was tied 3-3 in the third set, with Haas set to serve during the first-round match, when an iguana climbed to the top of a baseline scoreboard and rested at the best seat in the stadium.
Fans, players and the chair umpire immediately noticed the iguana as the creature lingered. “It's a big one,” the umpire said.
Officials tried to shoo the reptile away with a towel, but the iguana had worked hard for that spot and wasn't about to saunter away at the first time of asking.
There was tennis to be played, however, so the chair umpire told Vesely that they were going to resume play, even with the iguana sitting on the scoreboard. “If it's not moving and it's just like that, we're going to try and play,” he said.
But Vesely, who was set to return Haas' serve from the iguana's side of the court, refused. “I cannot concentrate,” Vesely said.
“It's not a dangerous animal,” the umpire pleaded.
But Vesely, like the iguana, wasn't budging, and it was clear: This match was on the iguana's time.
Haas, like the fans who were laughing and cheering, had fun with the creature. The ATP World Tour veteran walked over to the lizard and snapped a selfie with him to more cheers from the crowd.
“Maybe the iguana got the note that this is most likely the last time I'm playing here, and he wanted to say 'Hi' and take a peek or something,” said the 38-year-old Haas, who has said this season will be his last. “I don't know, but it was pretty cool. Of that size, I don't think I've ever experienced that. I don't know where he came from and why he wanted to come out on Court 1 and kind of say hello to everyone.”
Haas, who is in his 21st year on tour, has had a career full of memorable moments, but he'll likely remember the day the iguana interrupted his match. “It was fun. I thought that's an interesting picture to take,” he said. “I don't think it'll ever happen again, to be honest, especially in my career, because it's almost over anyway. It's nice for him to stop by. Good-looking iguana.”
Eventually, though, the iguana's fun in the sun ended, but not before a victory lap. The reptile pranced around and across the court, sprinting to the opposite baseline as the fans cheered the lizard's courage. Officials eventually carefully carried the iguana away from the court, a towel wrapped around the Miami Open's most persistent fan.
It's not the first time a reptile has interrupted play. At an ATP Challenger Tour event in Sarasota last year, a snake slithered on court during match point.