- Temperatures at the Australian Open have been well above 100 degrees Farenheit during some matches.
- Notable players like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Juan Martin del Potro have all questioned the safety of playing in the heat.
- Tournament organisers have a tough call to make between delaying games and not giving advantages to some players.
Some of the tennis best players in the world have questioned the safety of playing matches in the intense heat of Melbourne, Australia, at the Australian Open.
While Novak Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils on Thursday, the on-court temperature was 104 degrees Farenheit, according to ESPN’s Jerry Bembry. And that was at 5:30pm on a hard court that could make it feel even hotter.
After beating Monfils in a sloppy, four-set slug-fest, Djokovic said tournament supervisors should have delayed the match.
“There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognise that you need to give players a few extra hours until [temperatures] come down,” Djokovic said. “I understand there is a factor of tickets. But there is a limit of being fit to play and being, I think, in danger to your health.”
The heat seemed to affect both players’ execution, as Monfils had 60 unforced errors to Djokovic’s 40.
Monfils said he may have had a heat stroke on the court.
“I got super dizzy … I think I had a small heat stroke for 40 minutes.”
Monfils also argued with the chair official that he should scrap that rule that requires players to serve within 25 seconds. Both Djokovic and Monfils were dragging in between points throughout the match.
Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets, also said it was too hot to play.
“It was really difficult to play,” del Potro said. “The temperature was too high for playing tennis. Also, if you saw the crowds, nobody was there watching under the sun.”
Rafael Nadal also weighed in: “I think it is a health issue. I like to, sometimes, play in heat. When it is too much, it becomes dangerous for our health. If the courts have roofs, why not put the roof on when the conditions are extreme?”
Indeed, fans seemed to vacate sunny seats:
While others took shelter as best as they could:
According to Bembry, Friday’s temperatures are supposed to be even higher, putting tournament officials in a tough spot of weighing player safety while trying not to give any players a specific
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