Bees cause a buzz and lengthy disruption at Indian Wells tennis during Alcaraz vs Zverev match

Bees swarm around a camera during a quarterfinal match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Bees swarm around a camera during a quarterfinal match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — A swarm of bees forced a nearly two-hour disruption to the quarterfinal match between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.

Alcaraz swatted at the bees buzzing around him before running for cover and the match was suspended 19 minutes in with Alcaraz serving tied at 1-1. The Spaniard went on to win 6-3, 6-1 in less time than the delay of 1 hour, 48 minutes.

Dozens of bees attached themselves to the overhead spider camera that traverses the court and a man without any protective covering used a vacuum to clean them off.

The players left the court during the delay. When they returned, the chair umpire told them there were still some bees around and Zverev joked that he was fine to play on his side of the court.

The bee vacuumer was summoned back to the court with a spray bottle and was cheered wildly by the crowd. He posed for selfies with fans, causing Alcaraz and Zverev to laugh as they watched him wander the seats spraying for bees. The man also doused the walls around the court.

A bee also landed on a player’s towel. Alcaraz expressed ongoing concern that the bees would swarm again on his side, but an ATP Tour supervisor encouraged him to give it a try during the warmup.

Tournament owner and billionaire Larry Ellison and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates were watching the match from Ellison’s box.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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