Australian Open qualifying delayed as smoke blankets Melbourne

Zverev ends Rublev’s run to reach last eight of Australian Open

Poor air quality in Melbourne has already impacted the Australian Open, where qualifying is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Play was due to get underway at 10:00 local time (23:00 GMT), but thick smoke blanketed Melbourne, leading to it being pushed back by an hour.

Bushfires have ravaged Australia in recent months and there have been concerns over player and spectator welfare at the year’s first grand slam, with the main draw beginning on Monday.

The poor air quality has already impacted the event, with the Australian Open announcing practice had also been suspended during the morning on Tuesday.

“Practice was temporarily suspended this morning due to poor air quality,” a statement read.

“Qualifying matches will begin at 11am. Conditions onsite are improving and are being constantly monitored.

 

“Further decisions will be made using onsite data and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria.

“As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority.”

Air quality in Melbourne has been in the ‘hazardous’ and ‘very poor’ range since midnight local time (13:00 GMT) in readings provided by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

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