Player quits Australian Open after coughing fit in smoke-clogged air

Thursday, 16 Jan, 2020

"The air was harder to breathe, nearly as if it did not all go in when I took a deep breath", Frederico Silva told Lusa.

"Why do we need to wait for something bad to happen to do an action", she tweeted.

The Australian Open is now underway in Melbourne, where the air quality has been deemed "worst in the world" due to the raging Australian bushfires that continue to burn.

The Australian Open is scheduled to begin on January 20 - already a later start than in previous years - but if conditions don't improve dramatically by then, calls to have it postponed or even compressed will grow increasingly louder. "I felt like the conditions got worse as the match went on. but I was out there for a long time".

Australian Open qualifying was disrupted for a second successive day due to poor air quality on Wednesday as smoke from bushfires continued to blanket Melbourne in an acrid haze.

Any smoke hazards are treated similarly to extreme heat and rain, and referees could interrupt the game if it is considered too risky to continue, they added. "I was stunned, I assumed we would certainly not be playing today yet we do not have much selection".

The Swiss tennis star, 38, took on Australian Nick Kyrgios in a one-set finale at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday night. Thousands of global visitors and Australian tennis fans will also throng to the area.

"The health and well-being of not only the players but the fans and our staff is of utmost importance", he said, according to The New York Times.

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.

Despite the conditions, the organizers said the Grand Slam was unlikely to be delayed.

"This is a new experience for all of us in how we manage air quality so we have to listen to the experts", Mr Tiley said.

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

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

Former world number one Maria Sharapova's warmup match at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne's eastern suburbs was abandoned with the Russian trailing Germany's Laura Siegemund 7-6 5-5 after both players complained to the chair umpire. Then you get down here and you speak to the people as well who have been affected - it's been hard.