World No.2 Novak Djokovic admits to having experienced worse air quality in China. However, the Serbian revealed that the bushfire disaster in Australia has created an unprecedented situation for the players.
Djokovic revealed that he had experienced air quality issues in tournaments in China. He once suggested that the quality of air is so bad at the China Open in Beijing that players should have access to oxygen tanks on the court to help them breathe through the smog.
“I know in China, for example, we play in conditions that are pretty very tough in terms of quality of air. I think every single player male or female will tell you the same. China is probably the worst in terms of the quality of air,” Djokovic said in the post-match press conference at the ATP Cup 2020 on Saturday.
However, the 32-year-old further explained that if the air quality continues to deteriorate the same way in Melbourne or Sydney then Tennis Australia probably will be forced to create some rules about it.
“It’s tough for them (Australian Open organisers) because scheduling has to be respected in terms of play. The Australian Open starts at a certain time. So there’s a lot of different things involved. But health concern is a health concern for me and for anybody,” the 16-time Grand Slam champion admitted.
Catastrophic bushfires have been raging in Australia for weeks, leaving 24 dead and many of properties obliterated. Last week, the organisers of the ATP Challenger 125 were also forced to take an unprecedented decision. The Challenger tournament was relocated in Bendigo due to the low air quality in the capital city.
During the Serbia vs South Africa tie at the ATP Cup 2020, Novak Djokovic was tested by Kevin Anderson, who was playing his first competitive match after returning from injury. Djokovic dug deep to fend off Anderson 7-6(5), 7-6(6) to secure a win over South Africa in Brisbane. Earlier, Dusan Lajovic beat Lloyd Harris 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 to give Serbia a 1-0 lead. Serbia’s sweep was completed with a straight-sets win in the doubles.