The air-quality in Melbourne has been making the headlines for the past few days now. Numerous tennis players have voiced out regarding the unplayable conditions in the Victorian capital. However, the organizers seem to take no action to provide a comfortable ambiance for tennis professionals. The former Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters says that it’s ‘impossible to ignore the poor air quality index’ in Melbourne.
Presently the Australian Open 2020, qualifying rounds and practice sessions have been severely effected. Their commencement was delayed by a couple of hours, but that’s not a concrete solution to the perilous issue. Playing under the toxic sky can easily lead to respiratory problems among tennis professionals.
“You can’t avoid or ignore it” – Clijsters on air pollution
“If it’s not possible to play in then what’s the point?” Kim Clijsters told the BBC. “If you can’t play and bring good tennis and be fit enough to play for two hours, or even the guys 4-5 hours in this environment. You can’t avoid or ignore it. They have delayed (qualifying) matches, but it’s not going to solve the air quality.”
Clijsters further mentioned that on the show courts the poor air-quality wouldn’t effect much due to the presence of the roof. Whereas the outer courts are still waiting for a feasible solution.
“I would have been very vocal” – Kim Clijsters
“On the center and show courts there is not an issue – they can close the roof and they can have the ventilation on, but on the outside courts… you can’t play a whole event just on a few show courts that have a roof. If I would have been there, I think I would have been very vocal and at least talk to the board and the tournament directors to try to think about solutions,” former World Number one Clijsters added.
She continued to speak about the conditions of the qualifiers and high-lighted the importance of players’ health. “They feel the struggles at night, the coughing,” Clijsters said. “It’s a tough situation to be in and it’s something that’s out of anyone’s control. It’s important that players stay healthy.”
A few weeks ago the Belgian, Kim Clijsters announced her comeback to the WTA circuit, and she was supposed to play at Melbourne major. However, she delayed her return to tennis due to injuries. She will be seen at Monterrey Open in Mexico.