Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-Tennis-Smoke clears in Melbourne, organisers defend playing qualifiers

Reuters | Melbourne | Updated: 16-01-2020 16:32 IST | Created: 16-01-2020 16:25 IST
UPDATE 1-Tennis-Smoke clears in Melbourne, organisers defend playing qualifiers
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

The Melbourne skies were largely clear of bushfire smoke on Thursday as Australian Open organizers defended their decision to continue playing qualifiers for two days when a thick haze enveloped the city. Severe criticism has been leveled at Tennis Australia after qualifying for the first Grand Slam tournament of the season went ahead at Melbourne Park with minor disruptions despite the smoke.

Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic was forced to retire after suffering a coughing fit in the second set of her match on Tuesday and several other players said they had found it difficult to breathe. Britain's Liam Broady, who lost his first-round qualifying match on Tuesday, said the decision to continue playing while Melbourne residents were being warned to keep pets indoors "boiled" his "blood".

"We can't let this slide. The email we received yesterday from the ATP and AO was a slap in the face, conditions were 'playable'. Were they healthy?" he posted in a note on Twitter. Australian Open tournament director and Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley, however, told reporters that he was confident in the systems they had in place to protect the players from harm.

"Our medical team was satisfied with the conditions that the players were competing in, per all of the research and the data and the science that they have," Tiley said. "But they also make an assessment. You could have been two hours into those matches and have 25 people presenting themselves with a medical condition that may be related to the pollutants.

"If that's the case, inform me and we stop." Australia is experiencing one of its worst bushfire seasons on record with blazes killing 28 people, destroying more than 2,500 homes and razing forests and farmland over an area equivalent to the size of Bulgaria.

The nation celebrated the first major rainstorms during that period on Wednesday night and qualifying got underway as scheduled on Thursday morning in temperatures more than 10 degrees Celsius cooler than on the previous two days. The negative feeling from some of the lowly-ranked players, for whom qualifying presents the opportunity to get into the main draw and make more money than they might earn in a year otherwise, had not gone away, however.

"I pride myself on being one of the fittest players on the circuit I play and my body literally failed me on that day #Poor," Broady's compatriot Jay Clarke, another loser on Tuesday, posted on Twitter. Tennis Australia said earlier this week their decisions about whether conditions were fit for the play were based on on-site data and in consultation with medical staff, weather forecasters and government scientists.

"We understand the anger but a lot of it comes from the confusion and the complexity of understanding what goes on," Tiley added. "We've invited the players ... to come in at any time to have a conversation. If anyone at any time is feeling not well, we have a full medical team.

"We have a respiratory specialist on hand to deal with any of these issues." Australia's Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a maximum of 19 Celsius (66.2 Fahrenheit) for Melbourne on Thursday but temperatures are predicted to rise again at the weekend.

The Australian Open runs from next Monday until Feb. 2.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

China: A savior for emerging markets or a poison pill?

... ...

Future of Urban Planning: Artificial Intelligence guiding the way

Advances in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help us understand our cities better and derive useful insights from real-time data collected through automated models....

Videos

Latest News

Brazil airlifts emergency oxygen into pandemic-struck state, vaccine drive lags

Brazils Air Force flew emergency oxygen supplies on Friday to the jungle state of Amazonas devastated by a resurgent pandemic and the government scrambled to organize nationwide vaccinations while President Jair Bolsonaro said he should be ...

Pelosi calls for prosecution of any Congress members who might have helped pro-Trump siege

Any members of the U.S. Congress who helped a crowd of President Donald Trumps supporters storm the Capitol should face criminal prosecution, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday. The unprecedented Jan. 6 attack on t...

India kicks off 'world's largest' vaccination campaign

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the worlds largest vaccination campaign on Saturday as the populous nation tries to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control starting with two locally-manufactured shots. Modi will address he...

U.S. does not have reserve stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines -health chief Azar

The United States does not have a reserve stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines, but it is confident that there will enough produced to provide a second dose for people, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC News on Friday.We...

Give Feedback