Why We May Suspend Australian Open Matches, Organisers Say
Australian Open organisers monitoring the deteriorating air quality in Melbourne said matches could be suspended if conditions become hazardous amid the bush fire crisis.
Hundreds of fire incidents have killed no fewer 25 people and ravaged more than eight million hectares (19.8 million acres) of land across Australia over the last few months.
With the season’s first Grand Slam qualifiers starting on Jan. 14, Tournament Director Craig Tiley said officials could halt play if smoke poses a danger to players’ health.
“Assessing the likelihood of smoke-induced interruptions is a bit like how we treat heat and rain.
“We have access to real-time monitoring of air quality at all of our venues.
“We are working closely with medical personnel and local experts on site to ensure we have the best possible information available to make any decisions —- regarding whether play should be halted at any point.
“The health of players, fans and staff is a priority at all times and we will continue to make these decisions with that in mind,” he told local media.
There have so far been no smoke-related delays at the ATP Cup, which is taking place in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
However, this week’s ATP Challenger/ITF Futures tournament scheduled for Canberra was moved to Bendigo, while the capital city’s Brumbies Rugby team moved their pre-season training camp to Newcastle.
The Australian Open main draw begins on Jan. 20.
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