The organizers of the Australian Open 2020 have confirmed the tournament will start and finish on time despite air quality worries in Melbourne.
As a result of Australian bushfires, the air quality in the area hasn’t been great lately. However, things have improved over the last couple of days especially after heavy rain hit the city mid-week. The result is that the air quality in Melbourne is now labeled as “moderate”.
Even before the rain brought relief to the area, the Australian Open director Craig Tiley dismissed the rumors about delaying the tournament.
“There is a lot of speculation about the Australian Open not happening, or starting later… The Australian Open is happening.”said Craig Tiley a few days ago.
The tournament is scheduled to start on Monday, January 20, 2020, although qualification matches are already being played. In fact, some of the qualifiers were played when the air quality was at its worst, causing a number of players to call for tournament delay.
Numerous Players Voicing Their Concerns
British player Liam Broady blamed the poor air quality for his defeat in the first-round qualifier, claiming that it made “made his blood boil”.
Two Canadian players, Eugenie Bouchard and Brayden Schnur were vocal as well. Schnur complained about the sensation of “super dryness” in his throat while playing a qualifier on an open-air court.
The experience made Brayden Schnur call out tennis superstars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, both of who had their Australian Open practice in-doors last week. The Canadian player urged them to do something to protect the interests of the players who are standing lower in the ATP Rankings.
Speaking of tennis legends, Novak Djokovic has recently said that he would be okay with the Australian Open delay if air quality didn’t improve by the start date.
Perhaps the most imaginative player in the air quality discussion was Nicolas Mahut who posted a photo of himself wearing a mask, with the caption “Ready for my first round”.
Dalila Jakupovic Almost Collapses on Tuesday in Melbourne
Dalila Jakupovic was forced to retire from her Australian Open qualifier after struggling to breathe properly.
The Slovenian player had to be helped off court on Tuesday, after retiring from her duel with Stefanie Vogele.
“It was really bad. I never experienced something like this”Dalila Jakupovic said.
The same day, qualification matches had to be delayed by one hour due to air quality concerns, while practice on open-air courts was suspended.
That day, the air quality in Melbourne got the “hazardous” rating, but things have improved since, eventually lifting the score up to “moderate”.
Unfortunately, the forecast is that the air quality in Melbourne is going to plummet again on Sunday, potentially getting to the “very poor” score. Still, even if that scenario plays out, it shouldn’t have any impact on the start date of the tournament.
As long as there are no risks for the health of the players, no changes are going to be made in the schedule of the Australian Open 2020.