Players at Australian Open stricken by bushfire smoke

A Player At The Australian Open Had To Bow Out Due To A Smoke-Induced Coughing Fit

Coughing fit sees player quit Australian Open qualifying

"In the unlikely case of extreme smoke conditions, the roofs will be closed on the three stadium courts and play will continue in their air-conditioned and air-filtered environment".

Any smoke hazards will be treated in a similar way as extreme heat and rain are treated, with umpires who will be able to stop play if it is considered too unsafe to continue. "That's why I went onto the floor, because I couldn't walk anymore".

The smoke was so bad that the Australian Open qualifying matches were delayed on Tuesday afternoon due to risky air.

"If the quality of the air was risky for the population in Melbourne, it would also be for those who were going to practice high competition sport in the open air".

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Despite the less-than-stellar conditions, Australian Open organizers are planning to play the tournament as-scheduled.

She said: "I was really scared that I would collapse".

"We're all trying to work out the best approach and there's no "one size fits all". I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today but we don't have much choice".

Despite numerous players suffering issues related to the air quality, the tournament's director, Craig Tiley, insists the health of players and spectators remains a top priority, and that extensive testing is ongoing to ensure it is safe to play.

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The decision to push back the time players take the court followed a qualifier retiring with breathing difficulties yesterday (Jan 14) and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard needing medical attention.

On the other hand, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal pledged A$250,000 ($172,000) towards the Australian bushfire relief efforts at a charity event on Wednesday in the leadup to the Australian Open. Has someone got to collapse and die on the court before they say now it is too serious?

Tennis Australia said it would continue to monitor on-site data and consult their medical team, the local bureau of meteorology and government scientists to determine whether conditions were fit for play.

The 103rd-ranked player, who is seeded third in the qualifying tournament, was critical of officials after his first-round win over Sebastian Ofner, which took more than two hours in the hazy conditions that blanketed Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

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At the Kooyong Classic exhibition event, also held in Melbourne, Russia's former No. 1 Maria Sharapova also struggled in the heat and smoke before her match was called off in the second set.

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