Published on : 01/14/2020 – 19:37Modified : 01/14/2020 – 19:37
While qualifying for the Australian Open started in deplorable conditions, due to the fires ravaging the country, several players have raised a warning cry on social networks. They appeal to the responsibility of the organization in the face of the threat.
The image of the Slovenian player Dalila Jakupovic leaving one of the courts of the Australian Open, Tuesday, January 14, was not long in touring social networks. The 180th world player, who was in a good position to join the second qualifying round, was finally forced to retire, overcome by a succession of coughing fits. "I was really afraid of passing out (…) It is not healthy for us," she said after regaining her senses, referring to the alarming pollution episode the city of Melbourne, while Australia is still fighting huge fires. A level described as "dangerous" by the local authorities, who invited the inhabitants to stay cloistered at home, with the windows closed.
However, on the courts of the venerable Australian Open, the contenders for the final draw of the first Grand Slam of the year are busy, ignoring the recommendations. The organization continues to ensure that the tournament will take place as planned and refuses for the moment to communicate on any emergency measures. But six days before the start of the tournament, voices begin to rise on the circuit, even if the cadors remain discreet for the moment.
In this context, the exit of Elina Svitolina, world number 5 of the WTA, knew a considerable echo. In a publication on the social network Twitter, the headliner protests: "Why do we need to wait until something serious happens to react?", She insists, accompanying her air quality readings message.
Svitolina, part of the world's top tennis player, massively relayed the concerns of many players. Some, engaged in the qualifications, also took the floor, like the Luxembourgeoise Mandy Minella, 140th player in the world, or the former great hope of the American tennis Noah Rubin, 250th player in the ATP. "I don't understand why they are rushing to play today (Tuesday, note). We have a whole Saturday and Sunday to conclude the qualifiers' (…) There are solutions," said Minella.
I don’t understand why they rush to play today @AustralianOpen . You have the whole saturday and sunday to finish qualies and if it’s really bad we are used to play 2 matches a day aswell and in the worst case we can shorten the mens to best of 3. There are solutions !!
– mandy minella (@mandyminella) January 14, 2020
Rubin, one of the most active, has already devoted several posts to the subject. The most edifying is still this one: "Terrifying", he asserts, relaying the images of the abandonment of Jakupovic.
The Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, 34 years old and a member of the Top 100 of the WTA, does not hide her dissatisfaction either. On Twitter, she even speaks directly to the management of the Australian Open: "Have you thought about the consequences on our health? In the long term?" A question which, for the moment, has not been answered.
And faced with the silence of the organization, the contingent of worried players thickens. Several representatives of French tennis, for example, also expressed their feelings, including Alizé Cornet, Gilles Simon and Lucas Pouille. Often with a tone that speaks volumes about their hopes of being heard.
When we find doctors who say that playing at 45 degrees is not dangerous at the AO and referees who say that the wet grass is not slippery at Wimbledon, we must be able to find an expert who certifies that the air quality is sufficient right?
– Gilles SIMON (@ GillesSimon84) January 14, 2020
I keep reading that it is dangerous to play, reading messages from players saying that it is scandalous to play .. I can not judge I am not there .. but my question is this .. Why are you going on court?
– Lucas Pouille (@la_pouille) January 14, 2020
For the time being, the situation has not changed: the main draw of the Australian Open 2020 will be held from January 20 to February 2, in Melbourne.
. (tagsToTranslate) Sports (t) Australian Open (t) Fire (t) Australia (t) Grand Slam (t) Tennis