Australian Open organisers confident of ability to cope with high temperatures
Preparing for the 2016 Australian Open organisers are predicting that the tournament will be played in typical Melbourne summer conditions.
Presenting the long-range weather forecast for the first Grand Slam of 2016, as prepared by the tournament’s official meteorologist, Bob Leighton, Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley stated “the forecast for Australian Open 2016 looks like a typical Melbourne summer
"We expect only three days above the 35-degree mark, with the majority in the mid to low 20s, perfect weather for tennis.
"We expect a few showers and thunderstorms during the two weeks so having three retractable roof stadiums is fantastic, and effectively allows us to weatherproof the Australian Open. And for the warmer days we have more shaded areas for fans around the grounds than ever before."
The Australian Open heat policy, updated for the 2015 tournament, remains the same and ensures conditions are fair for all players.
As Tiley added “the heat policy, as always, will be applied at the Referee’s discretion and will take into account both the forecast and state of play when making the call.
"The decision on implementing the heat policy will again take into consideration the forecast once the ambient temperature exceeds 40 degrees, and the Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT) reading exceeds 32.5.”
However, a heat expert has called on Australian Open organisers to change their policy on playing in extreme conditions, even postponing full days if temperatures became too hot.
Australian National University's Liz Hanna says the Open's extreme heat policy is not acceptable.
Dr Hanna told the ABC “when we do get those days around 40, it really is inappropriate to expect them to play.
"If we want to be really fair and actually test performance and not simply heat endurance, those days should be postponed."
Dr Hanna points to a world athletics policy that delays competition when the 'wet bulb' - a complex measurement of heat, humidity and wind speed - hits 28, as a better standard.
Ongoing investment by the Victorian Government, has set up Melbourne Parks to cope with extreme heat than ever before.
The complex now offers boasts a world-best three retractable roof stadiums, with more shading than previous years to help fans cope with hot weather.
The 2016 Australian Open begins in Melbourne on 18th January.
14th October 2015 - AUSTRALIAN OPEN PRIZE MONEY BOOSTED TO $44 MILLION
6th January 2015 - AUSTRALIAN OPEN IS NOW A ‘WEATHERPROOF’ EVENT
4th December 2014 - TENNIS AUSTRALIA ALTERS AUSTRALIAN OPEN EXTREME HEAT POLICY
16th January 2014 - HEAT POLICY IN EFFECT AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN
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