Australian Open practice suspended due to poor air quality

Ross Houston
January 14, 2020

After not receiving a wildcard entry, Tomic was forced to go through the qualifying route to book a spot in the main draw of the 2020 Australian Open, however the Queenslander lost his match 7-6, 6-3.

Slovenian hopeful Dalila Jakupovic had her Open aspirations dashed after she succumbed to breathing issues in the second set of her matchup against Switzerland's Stefanie Vögele.

The first day of qualifying was delayed and practice suspended as Melbourne's air quality ranged from hazardous to poor on Tuesday morning.

The City of Melbourne issued warnings to its citizens and their pets to stay inside wherever possible.

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

Australian Open men's champion Novak Djokovic expressed concern earlier this month that bushfire smoke might cause some health problems for players.

"Today when we got up the smoke haze was significant so we made the decision to suspend practice and, as a result, to start the qualifying matches an hour later than was originally scheduled", Tiley told reporters before Jakupovic's retirement.

The umpire in Sharapova's clash with German Laura Siegemund at the Kooyong Classic determined the conditions were too unsafe to continue.

Jakupovic said it was "not fair" that officials asked players to take the court in those conditions.

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

Tennis Australia's chief operating officer Tom Larner said they would be treating any smoke stoppages in the same way as an extreme heat or rain delay.

Horse races at Werribee were also cancelled on Tuesday, as air quality at the tracks reached hazardous levels.

The bushfires have affected a number of elite sporting competitions involving soccer, rugby league and cricket, and poor air conditions have raised fears for players' health at tennis's first Grand Slam.

"Avoid being outside in the smoke or dust".

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