By RICHARD BAKER, Associated Press SANTA MONICA, Calif.
(AP) A Japanese tennis player with a rare heart condition that causes his heart to beat faster than normal has been placed on a waiting list to have his heart surgery.
Nashio Sakaguchi was just 16 when he won the US Open and he was a member of the Japanese Open’s No. 1 team when he suffered a rare and devastating heart attack in March.
He has been on a hospital stay ever since, recovering from heart surgery and having to take time off to be with his mother.
His condition has become more severe since then.
He had to undergo three rounds of heart surgery to replace a heart valve and to replace the heart muscle.
He has been able to play but he is a long way from the elite level of tennis that can take his heart from 50 beats a minute to more than 90.
He was not scheduled to play at the ATP World Tour Finals in England this week.
He will be at the Australian Open for the first time next month and the Australian Grand Slams.
His condition has led some to speculate he will never play professionally again.
The Japanese Tennis Association has said the Japanese federation is working with the family to help Sakagachi overcome the condition.
It said his family is making progress.