Published on : 01/15/2020 – 18:14Modified : 01/15/2020 – 18:14
The smoke from the fires ravaging the Melbourne area caused coughing fits among players participating in the Australian Open qualifiers. For many, the organizers of the tournament should have suspended the matches.
Qualifications for the Australian Tennis Open were disrupted on Wednesday, January 15, for the second day in a row by toxic smoke from the fires. In the afternoon, the heavy rains that fell on the city, however, changed the situation, since they should help to remove the cloud of pollution from Melbourne and give way on Thursday to a clearer sky.
A toxic cloud fell on Melbourne on Tuesday, where this first Grand Slam tournament of the year will begin on Monday. It is the consequence of the fires which devastate since September whole regions of the south and the east of the immense island-continent. At least 28 people died.
The pollution in Melbourne, which usually appears in the list of the cities most pleasant to live in, reached at the beginning of the week a level qualified as "dangerous". These bad conditions continued on Wednesday and the residents were walking around with masks on their faces.
Tuesday, the organizers of the Australian Open had maintained the qualifications but players were victims of discomfort. Some, like the Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic, who had coughing fits, fell on their knees and choked. Those who were forced to continue playing under these conditions protested.
Several players have criticized the decision to play matches under these conditions, such as the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina or the French Gilles Simon. "Why do we have to wait for something serious to do something?" Tweeted the fifth player in the world.