Australian Open qualifying begins despite poor air quality
MELBOURNE, Australia — Smoke haze and poor air quality caused by wildfires temporarily suspended practice sessions for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, but qualifying began later in the morning in “very poor” conditions and amid complaints by at least one player who was forced to forfeit her match. At the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Melbourne, former No. 1-ranked Maria Sharapova struggled in the heat and smoke and her match against Laura Siegemund was called off late in the second set. Siegemund won the first set in a tiebreaker but players and officials decided to stop play at 5-5 in the second.
Tennis Australia faced fierce criticism on Tuesday after a player retired with breathing difficulties and others were left "gasping for air " in the opening round of qualifying matches for the Australian Open . Dalila Jakupovic, the world No 180 from Slovenia, was leading her match 6-4
The Australian Open delayed the first round of qualifying matches and suspended practice sessions on Tuesday morning due to smoke haze from bushfires.
The air was considered hazardous for outdoor workers, and described as among the worst in the world. For professional tennis players, though, it was deemed to be OK for business.
A thick haze enveloped Melbourne as smoke from devastating wildfires drifted over Australia’s southeast. Fine particles in the air early Tuesday hit the worst of six levels on a scale from good to hazardous, before dropping into the second-worst category, “very poor.”
While public health warnings were regularly being broadcast, some players preparing for the Australian Open were outdoors trying to qualify for the first Grand Slam event of the decade.
Smoke haze again forces delay in Australian Open qualifying
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Open officials delayed the start of play by two hours on the second day of qualifying until smoke from regional wild fires cleared later Wednesday. Smoke and hazy conditions at Melbourne Park on Tuesday affected the opening day's play with organizers criticized for allowing qualifying matches to proceed. A number of players complained, including Australian Bernard Tomic, who sought medical treatment during his first-round loss when he struggled to breathe. Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic feared she would pass out before retiring from her match when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing spell.
Concerns have been raised on the opening qualifying day at the 2020 Australian Open over unhealthy and “It was really bad . I never experienced something like this,” Jakupovic said. Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard also complained about the poor air quality, which she claimed
Air pollution is the big risk for the Australian Open . Smoky conditions could pose health problems for players, fans and officials, especially in the high temperatures of the Australian summer. Melbourne hasn’ t been as badly affected by pollution as Sydney or Canberra, but thick haze last week prompted
There’s long been policies in place for tournament organizers to mitigate for the brutal heat that can be a factor in the Australian summer, and for rain. But problems with air quality are new, and Australian Open organizers are scrambling to deal with it amid the bush fire crisis.
"This is a new experience for all of us in how we manage air quality, so we have to listen to the experts," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
Victoria state’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, said “overnight for Melbourne it did reach the worst in the world.”
The noxious haze triggered false alarms from hundreds of smoke detectors. Conditions improved as the temperature increased. Predictions are for air quality to remain poor until Wednesday night.
Canada's Denis Shapovalov draws Hungary's Marton Fucsovics at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia — Top Canadian Denis Shapovalov will begin play at the Australian Open against an unfamiliar opponent. The No. 13 seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., will square off with world No. 66 Marton Fucsovics of Hungary in the opening round of the first Grand Slam of the season. It will be the first career meeting between the two players. The draw was held Thursday. Shapovalov, 20 opened the 2020 season with wins against top-10 players Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup before losing in a third-set tiebreak against No. 2 Novak Djokovic at the team event.
Australian Open practice is temporarily suspended on Tuesday and qualifying delayed by an hour due to poor quality in Melbourne caused by the ongoing bushfires. Former Australia cricketer Shane Warne raised over £500,000 by auctioning off his 'baggy green' cap, and he and former Australia
Australian Open practice was suspended and qualifying delayed. Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic had to retire from her match after suffering a coughing fit Any smoke hazards will be treated in a similar way to extreme heat and rain, with umpires able to stop play if air monitoring shows it is too
Monitoring equipment has been installed at various locations within Melbourne Park, and Australian Open organizers have devised an air quality policy for players. They'll consult with medical experts, the weather bureau and scientists from the Environment Protection Authority about whether it’s unsafe to play, Tiley said. Matches would be stopped if conditions became unsafe on medical advice.
Professor Yuming Guo, the head of the Climate Air Quality Research (CARE) Unit at Melbourne's Monash University, suggested tennis organizers either delay the tournament, or stage matches only indoors.
“Absolutely. It’s very serious at the moment in Melbourne,” Guo told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. “A low level of air pollution is a real hazard for human health ... so, such high levels in Melbourne is very serious for personal health.
“In general, Melbourne has very good air quality," Guo added, but at "this stage, air pollution is very serious — terrible.”
Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez advances in Australian Open qualifiers
MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez toppled Romania's Patricia Maria Tig 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday in a first-round qualifier at the Australian Open that originally began a day earlier. Fernandez, from Laval, Que., was leading Tig 6-2, 4-1 when play was suspended on Wednesday because of rain. Meanwhile, Canadian Peter Polansky made a quick exit in qualifying on Thursday. Polansky, from Thornhill, Ont., was ousted by France'sFernandez, from Laval, Que., was leading Tig 6-2, 4-1 when play was suspended on Wednesday because of rain.
Australian Open organisers have been forced to take action. The new start time on the opening day of qualifying for next week's grand slam event was moved to 11am, after practice was temporarily halted Melbourne’s air quality was reportedly rated the second- worst in the world on Monday night.
The Australian Open came under heavy criticism today after obliging players to take to the court amid a combination of poor air quality and stifling heat. Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic collapsed and had to abandon her match when she could take no more, despite being close to victory as the first round of
Players have previously raised concerns about the health impacts of playing tournaments in parts of China, India and other venues where air quality is at hazardous levels.
“I think the air pollution here because of the bush fires is much worse than Beijing, Mumbai or Delhi," Guo said.
Novak Djokovic, who has won a record seven Australian Open men's titles, expressed concerns about the conditions in Melbourne while he was playing at the ATP Cup further north in Brisbane and Sydney last week His Serbia team won the ATP Cup, beating Rafael Nadal's Spain in the final. Both top-ranked players are part of the men's player council, which will meet this week to discuss air quality issues.
The Australian Open starts on Monday, and play in the qualifying tournament can potentially continue until Sunday. There are contingencies for all extremes.
But players have already been affected. At the Kooyong Classic exhibition event, former No. 1 Maria Sharapova struggled in the heat and smoke before her match against Laura Siegemund was called off in the second set.
Tennis Player Forfeits Match During Australian Open After Collapsing Due To Smoke-Filled Air As Bushfires Rage
The Australian Open is currently 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 air quality led to Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic to forfeit her match against Stefanie Voegele when she began coughing, ultimately collapsing on the ground, reports NBC News.
Hazardous air enveloping Melbourne, Australia , delayed play on the first day of Australian Open qualifying matches on Tuesday, causing one player to double over in coughing fits during a match as the country’s wildfires marred the famed tournament.
Australian Open practice was suspended and qualifying delayed. Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic had to retire from her match after suffering a coughing fit, although it wasn' t clear if pollution was to blame. However, Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley has said he expects the tournament to go ahead
In Australian Open qualifiers, Dalila Jakupovic was leading against Stefanie Voegele when she dropped to her knees with a coughing spell. She had breathing difficulties and had to retire from the match.
“I was really scared that I would collapse," Jakupovic told Australian Associated Press. "I never had breathing problems. I actually like heat. But ... I just couldn't breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor."
Jakupovic said it was "not fair" she'd been asked to play.
Other players, including Alize Cornet, took to social media to say it was a bad idea to be playing.
Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist, needed medical assistance during her first qualifying match before beating You Xiaodi in almost three hours. Bernard Tomic was rubbing his eyes before his match and needed a medical timeout for breathing issues before losing to Denis Kudla.
Guo advises people to stay indoors, and use air-conditioning and purifiers if accessible. When going outdoors, he recommends people wear appropriate masks.
Melbourne has three stadium courts with retractable roofs and air-conditioning. There are eight indoor courts at the National Tennis Centre, adjacent to the Melbourne Park site.
Those could be used for the Australian Open in extreme circumstances, and are already heavily booked for practice. Organizers are concerned, but not in a panic about the impact of the air quality on the tournament.
Canadian golfer Lee finishes in fifth place at Singapore Open, Kuchar wins
SINGAPORE — Canadian golfer Richard T. Lee shot 1-over 71 on Sunday to finish in fifth place at the Singapore Open. The 29-year-old from Toronto finished at 12-under 272 at Serapong Golf Course. He was tied for second place after two rounds of the tournament and sat three shots back of the lead heading into the final round. American Matt Kuchar won with an 18 under score while Justin Rose was second at 15 under. The US$1-million tournament was co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Tour. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020.
The Australian Open tennis Grand Slam starts next week in the midst of a bushfire crisis that has left at least 27 people dead and destroyed more than 2,000 homes. Toxic air pollution clouded Melbourne on Tuesday, halting practice sessions and slightly delaying qualifying . Air pollution could pose.
This month's Australian Open tennis Grand Slam will take place during a bushfire crisis that has left at least 26 people dead and destroyed more than 2,000 homes. Blazes across the country have torched about eight million hectares (80,000 square kilometres) of land, sending air pollution soaring.
Fires have raged in large parts of Australia, but the metropolitan areas of Sydney and Melbourne have been relatively fire free. The air quality problem is caused by the wind, which has even spread the smoke across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.
Sports events have been postponed or moved — including an Australian Open tuneup event in Canberra that had to be moved from the capital last week because of air quality issues.
Guo said sports organizers Down Under should be considering long-term strategies for dealing with it.
“Maybe they need to make a plan for the future — Plan B or Plan C," he said. “Some studies have already been done that show because of climate change, the bush fires will be more and more frequent, last longer and (be) more intense. So the bush fire air pollution will be a very serious problem."
At least 27 people are dead, including four firefighters, from the fires in four states which have destroyed more than 2,000 homes, killed millions of animals, and scorched an area larger than the U.S. state of Indiana since September. Tennis stars including Serena Williams and other athletes and celebrities have contributed to the fundraising effort for victims of the fires and the volunteers fighting the blazes.
From Monday, there'll be 128 players in each of the men’s and women’s singles draws, plus others in doubles, juniors and wheelchair events. And a small army of volunteers, ballkids, umpires and line judges, and catering staff.
Then, of course, there’s the fans. The 2019 Australian Open hit a record 796,435 for attendance, including more than a half-million in the first week. So there's more than a match schedule to consider.
More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
John Pye, The Associated Press
Bouchard's bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying .
MELBOURNE, Australia — It was in the shadows of the main show courts at Melbourne Park, days before the first Grand Slam tournament of the season is set to begin in earnest, and Eugenie Bouchard's stay at the Australian Open was over in the last round of qualifying. The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up, once as high as No. 5 in the rankings, has had a long slide down to No. 211. She's had to get used to playing away from packed stadium courts. But a constant echo around the arena on Friday presented something new.