Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…read more
Melbourne’s poor air quality impacts Australian Open qualifier event
The safety of players at this year’s Australian Open is an increasing cause for concern after a day of poor air quality in Melbourne forced the abandonment of the former world No 1 Maria Sharapova’s match in a warm-up event at Kooyong.
Another player, Dalila Jakupovic, collapsed on court at Melbourne Park and was forced to retire midway through her qualifying match when she suffered a coughing fit.
The match had been given approval to get underway by tournament organisers after the day’s play had initially been delayed for an hour due to the blanket of bushfire smoke enveloping Melbourne.
Jakupovic, who was looking to qualify for the main draw of the tournament which is slated to start on Monday, was one set up in her match against Switzerland’s Stefanie Vögele when she fell to her knees on court. Suffering breathing difficulties, the world No 180 withdrew.
She later said she had no previous respiratory issues and had never suffered from asthma, advising “I was really scared that I would collapse. That’s why I went onto the floor because I couldn’t walk any more.
“I don’t have asthma and never had breathing problems. I actually like heat. The physio came again and I thought it would be better. But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn’t breathe any more and I just fell on the floor.”
Jakupovic was critical of officials for allowing the match to go ahead, saying it was “not fair” and adding “it’s not healthy for us.
“I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today, but we don’t have much choice.”
Eugenie Bouchard, the former Wimbledon finalist, also struggled in her opening match and called several medical timeouts during the eventual win over China’s Xiaodi You.
As reported by Guardian Australia, she advised “I felt like it was tough to breathe and a bit nauseous.
“I felt like the conditions got worse as the match went on...but I was out there for a long time. As an athlete we want to be very careful, our physical health is one of the most important things. It’s not ideal to play in these conditions. Just like the heat rule, there should be an air quality rule.”
At Kooyong, Sharapova said smoke from the bushfires still burning in Victoria and NSW was behind the decision to call time on her match late in the second set against Germany’s Laura Siegemund.
Organisers of the tournament in the inner Melbourne suburb pulled the plug on play with Siegemund a set up and the score locked at 5-5 in the second, as the city was enveloped in a smoke haze and was rated in the morning as having the worst air quality in the world.
Earlier, practice at Melbourne Park had been suspended and the start of the first round of qualifying delayed by an hour due to the poor air quality. However, tournament organisers deemed it safe enough to start at 11am local time, once they said the air quality had sufficiently improved.
Australian Open Tournament Director, Craig Tiley stated "this morning the smoke haze was significant.
“And based on advice we made the decision to suspend practice and as a result to start the qualifying matches an hour later than originally scheduled. At any time we’re not going to put them (players and staff) in harm’s way or make any decision that’s going to negatively impact their health and wellbeing.”
Tom Larner, Tennis Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, indicated the situation was comparable to other delays caused by atmospheric conditions, such as extreme heat, or rain.
As quoted by Guardian Australia, Larner stated “we’re treating any suspension of play like a rain delay or a heat delay, in that we will stop if conditions become unsafe based on medical advice, and once those conditions are safe to play, players will get back on court.”
Tuesday’s delay lasted only one hour, as, according to Tiley, “during the period in which we suspended practice there was an improvement in conditions”. The suspension, and subsequent resumption of play was based on air quality measurements taken on-site using devices sourced specifically for this eventually, as well as advice from tournament medical staff.
Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority issued a warning on Monday evening that conditions in Melbourne on Tuesday would be poor to hazardous as a consequence of the bushfires raging across the south east of the country.
Earlier this month poor air quality saw the Canberra International Challenger event relocate to Bendigo.
Middle image shows haze over central Melbourne last week.
10th January 2020 - Sport and venues rally to back bushfire relief
9th January 2020 - Bushfires have massive impact on Australian tourism industry
8th January 2020 - Sydney Festival show cancelled due to bushfires and poor air quality
6th January 2020 - TEG to stage benefit concert for bushfire relief at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium
4th January 2020 - VTIC provides advice for businesses impacted by the bushfires
27th December 2019 - Leading global brands partner with ATP Cup
24th December 2019 - Fortnite esport event returns to Australian Open
21st December 2019 - Smoke from bushfires forces abandonment of Big Bash League match in Canberra
27th November 2019 - Upgrade at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena to be ready for January’s ATP Cup
25th October 2019 - Footprint of Australian Open set to expand in 2020
20th September 2019 - International sport bodies unite to combat climate change
26th July 2019 - Tennis Australia to roll out new court surfaces across the nation
6th June 2019 - Tennis Australia commits to United Nations climate change action
6th February 2019 - Climate change set to impact Australia’s summer sporting calendar
Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?
The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.
However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.
Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.
Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.
Click here to subscribe.
The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.
ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help all athletes gain the competitive edge. Our…read more
Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…read more
APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) is the leading global manufacturer of polyurethane-based materials, acrylic coatings and synthetic turf products for sporting and recreational applications. From…read more
SPORTENG specialises in the Planning, Design and Construction inspection of Fields of Play for all sports. Blending engineering with the specialist knowledge gained from working closely with sport…read more
Digonex is a leading provider of customised dynamic pricing solutions to clients in arts and entertainment, sport, attractions, cultural institutions and retail sectors. Digonex’s technology is…read more
Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…read more
Swimplex Aquatics are a world-class company dedicated to the commercial pool, waterslide industry. We are Australian market leaders servicing all states Australia wide. Swimplex provide a full…read more
get listed with our suppliers directory
Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!