Tennis stars feel the heat in Sydney

Story highlights

  • Record temperatures hit Australia during tennis tournament in Sydney
  • Stifling heat of 41.4 degrees make conditions uncomfortable for players
  • World No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska claims it was "too hot" to play
  • Monday confirmed by Australia Bureau of Meteorology as hottest since records began

The 2013 tennis season may only be in its fledgling stages but already the heat is well and truly on for those preparing for the year's first major.

As the great and good on the men's and women's circuits fine tune their game ahead of the Australian Open that starts in Melbourne on Monday, they are having to contend with stifling temperatures in Sydney.

According to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, Monday was the hottest day in the country since records began over 100 years ago with an average temperature of 40.3 degrees.

Officials in New South Wales have warned of a "catastrophic" fire threat as strong winds combine with the heat to increase the danger of bushfires spreading out of control.

Read: Murray inspired by friend with cancer

Players had to battle heat that reached 41.4 deg in Sydney, with world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska claiming it was "too hot" to play and that officials should have halted proceedings under their extreme heat policy.

But the Pole, along with the other players scheduled on Tuesday, battled through the searing sunshine with the help of regular breaks, ice towels and gallons of liquid.

"I think this is too hot to play tennis," Radwanska told reporters at a press conference. "Even for players, for ball kids, for even the people sitting out there, I think it's just too hot."

Clijsters reflects on career, family
Clijsters reflects on career, family


    Clijsters reflects on career, family


Clijsters reflects on career, family 03:23
Safarova: 'One of my best matches ever'
Safarova: 'One of my best matches ever'


    Safarova: 'One of my best matches ever'


Safarova: 'One of my best matches ever' 00:10
Kvitova: From underdog to world number 8
Kvitova: From underdog to world number 8


    Kvitova: From underdog to world number 8


Kvitova: From underdog to world number 8 04:31

One saving grace for Radwanska was her quick 6-4 6-3 victory over Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm which meant she was only on court for 68 minutes.

Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova battled through to a 7-6 1-6 6-2 victory over former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, though both players benefited from a heat break before contesting the deciding set.

Kuznetsova told reporters: "I think it shows you one more time how tough the tennis is right now. How players have to be fit to play in the hot conditions, the windy conditions. We're like iron women almost.

"It was very hot out there. In the second set the heat definitely disturbed me a lot. But the break really helped me before the third set."

The 2011 French Open champion, Li Na of China, was quoted as saying by AFP that she felt like she was "playing in a sauna."

Germany's Angelique Kerber triumphed 6-2 7-5 over Russian qualifier Galina Voskoboeva who took a medical time out because of the extreme heat.

Kerber: "It was unbelievably hot. Usually I practice before my matches, 30 to 35 minutes, today it was just 10 or 15 minutes because I couldn't play more. It's tough to play in these conditions.

"I was trying to focus on the next point and not thinking about the heat, the sun and the weather. The whole match was tough from the first point. I'm happy I won in two sets."

Temperatures were due to cool off for Wednesday's play but by the end of the week the thermometer will be back up to 37 degrees in Melbourne, according to Jenny Harrison from the CNN Weather Center.

She told CNN's World Sport show: "We do see this every couple of years but this is record-breaking heat. Monday has been confirmed as the hottest day across Australia since records began.

"It looks as if Tuesday, once we get the stats in, could be the hottest day and outdo Monday.

"What has happened in the last few hours is a front has come through across the south east of Australia. In literally an hour the temperature in Sydney has dropped more than 10 degrees.

"Melbourne is cooler than that as the front went through there first. But in Melbourne by the end of the week the temperature is going to rise again, getting well above average."


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.