Saturday, 18 January, 2020

Coughing fit sees player quit Australian Open qualifying

Coughing fit sees player quit Australian Open qualifying Coughing fit sees player quit Australian Open qualifying
Cary Erickson | 14 January, 2020, 15:25

Tennis Australia faced fierce criticism after a player retired with breathing difficulties in the opening round of qualifying matches for the Australian Open.

"I think it was not fair because it's not healthy for us".

The umpire said the conditions were behind the call to stop play after nearly two and a half hours. I warmed up and then I was most surprised by how bad it still was when I was walking out to the court.

Australian Open officials had previously halted practice sessions and qualifying matchups due to the air quality in Melbourne, which has been hovering between "hazardous" and "very unhealthy" levels ever since the blanket of smoke settled across the city last night.

Russian Sharapova's match with Germany's Laura Siegemund was called off with Siegemend leading 7-6, 5-5 after both players complained to the chair umpire.

Taking on German Laura Siegemund in the Australian Open warm-up tournament, the players and officials made a decision to stop play at 5-5 in the second set.

Smoke from the East Gippsland bushfires has drifted across Victoria reaching Melbourne prompting health warnings.

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Concerns have been raised on the opening qualifying day at the 2020 Australian Open over unhealthy and hazardous conditions, after several players experienced breathing difficulties during their matches on Tuesday.

"Conditions onsite are improving and are being constantly monitored", the tournament said in a statement.

Officials say they will work with their medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) scientists when making decisions about whether it's healthy to play. "Just like the heat rule, there should be an air quality rule".

TA chief operating officer Tom Larner said any smoke stoppages would be treated in the same way as an extreme heat or rain delay.

"Practice was temporarily suspended this morning due to poor air quality".

"We will stop if conditions become unsafe based on medical advice", he said.