Nigel Sears, Ana Ivanovic's coach, to leave hospital after collapse

MELBOURNE -- Ana Ivanovic's coach, Nigel Sears, was due to be released from a Melbourne hospital Sunday afternoon after collapsing midway through Ivanovic's third-round loss to Madison Keys at the Australian Open on Saturday night.

Sears, the father-in-law of Andy Murray, was leaving the courtside players box in Rod Laver Arena when he collapsed. He was immediately put on a stretcher and treated with an IV and oxygen before eventually being taken down an elevator to an ambulance.

"My medical advice is that I will be allowed to leave the hospital shortly, and I have been cleared to fly back to the UK in the next day or so," Sears said in a statement released by the Australian Open.

"I just wanted to express my sincerest thanks to the incredible people who came to my aid, as well as the brilliant staff both at the Australian Open and the Epworth Hospital. I feel truly grateful to everyone involved for the manner in which this has been handled. While I appreciate the level of media interest in this story I would prefer not to comment any further, thanks."

Sears, 58, underwent multiple ECG and blood tests after leaving Melbourne Park and had improved overnight into Sunday.

"He had a couple of tests, he's doing well, and he'll be going home this afternoon," a hospital spokesperson told Fairfax Media on Sunday.

Australian Open director Craig Tiley wished Sears a smooth recovery.

"All of the tennis family is both relieved and pleased to hear that Nigel is being released from hospital," Tiley said. "We wish him well and hope to see him back on the court soon."

Sears' daughter and Murray's wife, Kim, is not in Melbourne. She is due to deliver the couple's first child in February and stayed in the United Kingdom.

ESPN analyst Pam Shriver said Sears had told other members of Ivanovic's coaching team that he wasn't feeling well about 30 minutes before the start of the match, which was won by Keys 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Ivanovic was unsure what had happened at first. But when she realized it was Sears, she sat in her changeover chair with an obvious look of distress.

Ivanovic and Keys waited on court for about 10 minutes before they were informed play was suspended, and they left the arena.

The players later were given the option to resume play or postpone their match. Both agreed to continue. After a 50-minute break, the players re-emerged, and the match resumed with Keys trailing 6-4, 1-0.

Ivanovic, who led 3-0 in the final set, waved to the crowd and immediately left the court after the match. Ivanovic declined the option to speak to reporters and instead issued a statement without addressing the incident involving Sears.

"Obviously, it was a tough match," Ivanovic's statement said. "I played so well. First set, I won it. I felt like I produced some good games, created some opportunities. But she came back strong with a very powerful game. ... Obviously a little disappointed, but a lot to look forward to."

She later thanked her supporters on Twitter.

Murray was playing simultaneously on Margaret Court Arena and also immediately left Melbourne Park without speaking to reporters after his 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Joao Sousa. His match wasn't stopped, but word filtered through to Murray about his father-in-law as he finished.

Murray, like Ivanovic, issued a statement after the match that did not address the incident, saying only that the match "was tricky," that he "didn't feel great" and that it was "good to get through that one."

Sousa was the only one of the four players involved in the opening night matches who was available to comment on the episode.

"I just heard that Andy went direct to the hospital," he said. "Good thing is, [Sears] is conscious, he's speaking. So we hope there's nothing bad, and, of course, first is the family and the health, so I think it's very good that Andy went there to be with him."

In her last match, Ivanovic had to wait for 30 minutes while a medical team attended to an elderly woman who took a tumble down the stairs.

Keys had 52 unforced errors in the match, but she returns to the second week in Australia for the second straight year. In 2015, she reached the semifinals before running into eventual champion Serena Williams.

Keys also declined to speak to the media and didn't address Sears' collapse, but she issued a statement, saying, "A little bit of a slow start in the third. I managed to kind of get it back and figure it out, fight back and get the win."

Said Ivanovic in her statement: "I thought the third set, she served better than me. She could get more on the first shot because of the serve. I felt that was the big difference in the third set."

Keys will play the winner of the Varvara Lepchenko-Lara Arruabarrena match.

Information from The Associated Press and Press Association Sport was used in this report.