Toxic air pollution due to unusual bushfires in Australia creates more trouble for the next week’s Australian Open 2020. The smoky conditions in Melbourne have led to delay the qualifying matches and also stopped the practice sessions on Tuesday. The poor conditions with high temperatures are also posing health problems for several players, fans and officials.
Last midnight the air quality index readings in Melbourne city centre rose past the 400 mark. The Environment Protection Authority Victoria also advised the citizens to try to stay indoors, keep windows and doors shut, and keep pets inside. However, Tennis Australia did not take any precautionary actions for the players.
Awful scenes at the Australian Open 2020
Three hours and 20 minutes until Australian Open qualifying is due to start… pic.twitter.com/MWUE0zr9EN
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) January 13, 2020
Dalila Jakupovic was also forced to abandon her qualifying match after suffering a coughing fit while playing in thick smoke.
Awful scenes in Melbourne.
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) January 14, 2020
Bernard Tomic also received something to inhale from the doctor during his defeat against Denis Kudla. A ball kid also collapsed outside the court
Criticism from players
Many players criticised the organisers for making the decision to go ahead with Australian Open qualifying today. On the other hand, in the latest press release from Tennis Australia, they wrote: “Harry Potter Day to take over the Australian Open”.
“Personally I don’t think qualifiers are treated the same way as the main-draw players. I think that is the same at every tournament. We are all human beings and there is no doubt that this is pretty bad for you to be running around in these conditions,” said Liam Broady, who lost his qualifiers on Tuesday.
“When we find doctors who say that playing at 45 degrees is not dangerous at the Australian Open. And referees who say that the wet grass is not slippery at Wimbledon, we must be able to find an expert who certifies that the air quality is sufficient right?” said Gilles Simon