The air quality has deteriorated tremendously in Melbourne due to the bushfires. It suffices to say that by playing in these conditions at the Australian Open 2020, these players are risking their health.
It has begun to affect the players even before the tournament’s first main draw match. A number of former champions have canceled from their scheduled practice sessions. We also saw some heartbreaking withdrawals on the first day of the qualifying draw.
Awful conditions at the Australian Open 2020
On Tuesday, the smoke-filled weather forced a delay in the qualifying matches of the Melbourne major. The practice sessions of certain players got disrupted.
Dalila Jakupovic, one of the entrants in the women’s qualifying draw, had to abandon her match. It was quite disheartening to see her situation on the court. She could not continue playing as she kept coughing due to a blanket of smoke above the court.
The unplayable conditions in Melbourne have led to some serious consequences. One of the ball kids in the tournament collapsed.
The Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic lost in the first round of qualifiers. He faced difficulties in breathing and it was overall a tough day for the tennis players in Melbourne.
Players’ reactions to the unplayable weather in Melbourne
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) January 14, 2020
— Donna Vekic (@DonnaVekic) January 14, 2020
Would they play MD matches in these conditions…? 🤔 https://t.co/8PuoDQI2Kz
— Brayden Schnur (@BraydenSchnur) January 14, 2020
— Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) January 14, 2020
— Kirsten Flipkens (@FlipperKF) January 14, 2020
French player Lucas Pouille pulled out from the Australian summer tournament due to an injury. However, after learning about the conditions there, he took to Twitter to voice his concerns.
“I can’t stop reading that it is dangerous to play, reading messages from players saying that it is outrageous to carry out the play. I cannot make a judgment since I am not there. But my question is, Why are you going on the court?” he tweeted.
Je n’arrête pas de lire qu’il est dangereux de jouer, de lire des messages de joueurs/joueuses dire que c’est scandaleux de faire jouer.. je ne peux pas juger je n’y suis pas.. mais ma question est la suivante.. Pourquoi allez vous sur le court ?
— Lucas Pouille (@la_pouille) January 14, 2020
— diego schwartzman (@dieschwartzman) January 14, 2020
Earlier this month, the Australian major’s 2020 edition was under a threat. The ‘smoke rugged from the burning blazes’ is detrimental to players’ health.
Air quality index readings in Melbourne touched the 400-point mark on Monday evening. The Environment Protection Authority, Victoria asked the citizens to stay indoors.
It is surprising to see that Tennis Australia yet to declare its statement and other precautionary actions for the players.
Tennis Australia’s alternative solution
The tournament director and CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley came up with suitable precautionary alternatives for the Australian major. He stated that a huge number of matches might take place indoors on the three main stadia of Melbourne Park.
“The site also has eight indoor practice courts which, while not set up for spectators, could theoretically take the number of protected courts used to 11 in the worst-case scenario. If they came to be used it would be the most indoor matches played ever at a Grand Slam,” CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley said.
However, he announced these statements for the main draw matches. The situation is getting out of control for the qualifier round of the tournament.