Former World No.1 Maria Sharapova reveals she felt cough during her Australian Open 2020 warm-up exhibition tournament in Melbourne. The officials then abandoned her match due to the increase of toxic air caused by the bushfires and temperature soaring around 40 degrees.
Sharapova was playing against the German Laura Siegemund in the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament as heavy smoke engulfed Melbourne. Subsequently, the players and officials decided to stop play at 5-5 in the second set. In the opening set, Siegemund prevailed 7-6 (7-4).
It was the right decision from the officials: Maria Sharapova
The five-time Grand Slam champion described conditions as extreme. She also revealed that she felt a cough after the match stretched over
“We played over two hours. And I actually started feeling a little bit of a cough coming up to the end of the second set. However, I’ve been sick for a few weeks so I thought it was something to do with that,” the Russian told SBS.
She further added: “When I heard Laura speak to the umpire and said she was struggling with it as well I was like, ‘Okay, thankfully I’m not the only one’. Then the umpire came down and said let’s just play one more game.”
“We were out there for over two hours. So I think from a health standpoint it was the right call from the officials,” Sharapova concluded
Despite the suspension of Sharapova’s match, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric still took to the Kooyong court for the second scheduled match.
Impact of toxic air conditions
Bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months. The disaster also led to concerns over the air quality at the next week’s Australian Open.
Several players’ practice including Rafael Nadal, had been suspended at Melbourne Park. Furthermore, the start of the first round of qualifying matches was also delayed by an hour.
Although Dalila Jakupovic retired from her qualifying match after having difficulties in breathing, the organisers deemed it safe enough to start the matches against at 11 am local time. The officials suggested the air quality had sufficiently improved.