Wednesday’s qualifying for the Australian Open was delayed because of the “very poor” air quality from the ongoing bushfire crisis.
Slovenian, Dalila Jakupovic retired from her Australian Open qualifying match because of the air quality. She had to be helped off court after suffering a coughing fit in her first-round match in Melbourne. Jakupovic said she did not have asthma and had not had breathing problems before.
It was very dangerous to play in those conditions yesterday. I think all of the players yesterday suffered more than the ones playing today because not all matches are going to be finished today. esterday, whoever we talk to, all the players had headaches, were feeling chest pains, had problems breathing. It was horrible.”Dalila Jakupovic
Several other players recorded instances of being affected by the air quality:
- Canadian Eugenie Bouchard had to leave court to receive treatment after complaining of a sore chest during Tuesday’s first round.
- Australia’s Bernard Tomic also had treatment on court.
- Russia’s Maria Sharapova had an exhibition match in Kooyong in the east of the city which was called off.
- French player Nicolas Mahut went to Instagram for a form of protest, posting a picture of himself wearing a smoke-blocking face mask with the caption “ready for my first round!”
The bushfires have claimed 28 lives while raising awareness about the type of disasters that the world will face due to global warming. Australian Open organisers pushed ahead with qualifying rounds on Tuesday. But dramatic scenes of players dropping to their knees and choking and retiring due to the smoke, led to complaints about them being forced to stay out on court.
Thunderstorms and heavy rain, are due to sweep across southeast Australia from Wednesday afternoon and it is expected to help clear the air in Melbourne.
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