With only six more days remaining for the Australian Open 2020 to begin, the competition has already started facing trouble due to weather as the qualifying rounds which were supposed to be held earlier today have been delayed because of poor air quality and smoke from the Australian bushfires.
ESPN India reports that practice was also suspended as Melbourne’s air quality ranged from ‘hazardous’ to ‘very poor’ on Tuesday morning.
Play eventually got underway at 11:00 am local time – an hour later than planned – and meanwhile, the city’s poor air quality was attributed to the bushfires in the state’s eastern side.
Stefanos Tsitsipas – Australian Open 2020 Profile
“Further decisions will be made based on onsite data, and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria,” a statement from tournament organisers read, as per The Guardian.
“As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority,” the statement added further.
Health authorities also do not expect the air quality to change much at least until Wednesday night.
Nick Kyrgios – Australian Open 2020 Profile
Meanwhile, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said that the officials had to act for the welfare of players, fans and staff when it became obvious that the smoke could have an impact on the Australian Open.
“This is a new experience for all of us in how we manage air quality, so we have to listen to the experts,” Tiley said, before adding:
“We now have real-time raw data that we can collect – we have installed measuring devices on-site for air quality.”