Skip to main content

High temperatures disrupt tennis at Australian Open in Melbourne

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 10:52 PM EST, Wed January 15, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tournament officials issue an "extreme heat policy" after temperatures top 40 Celsius
  • The move suspends current matches at the end of the set being played
  • It also stops new matches on outdoor courts until temperatures decline
  • The heat has already affected some players in matches this week

(CNN) -- Searing temperatures in Melbourne have disrupted play at the Australian Open, where tennis players have been struggling in the heat in recent days.

Organizers of the grand slam event said Thursday that they had introduced an "extreme heat policy" after temperatures rose above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

That means that matches already under way on court will be suspended at the end of the set being played.

The organizers said the roofs would be closed at the Rod Laver Arena and the Hisense Arena so that players could continue their matches on those courts.

But new matches won't start on outdoor courts "until the temperature falls back down to a temperature deemed fit for play by the tournament director," the statement on the website said.

Eastern Europe's Davis Cup domination
Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?
 A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.   A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.
 A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne. A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.
Marion Bartoli: Why I left the game

The severe heat at Melbourne Park this week has already caused problems for players.

Canadian Frank Dancevic fainted during his defeat in the first round on Tuesday. He said he thought the conditions were "inhumane."

On the same day, China's Peng Shuai blamed the heat after she cramped up and vomited during her defeat to Kurumi Nara of Japan.

And it's not just players who have succumbed to the elements. One of the ball boys fainted during 11th-seed Milos Raonic's four-set victory over Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday.

Some players worried

Several players have voiced concerns about the conditions.

"Whether it's safe or not, I don't know. You've just got to be very careful these days," Britain's Andy Murray, who has been a finalist in Melbourne in three of the last four years, said Tuesday. "There's been some issues in other sports with, you know, players having heart attacks."

Women's world No. 1 Serena Williams said Wednesday the fear of dehydration was giving her sleepless nights.

But 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer appeared unfazed.

"Just deal with it, because it's the same for both (players)," he said Tuesday after defeating spirited Australian James Duckworth in the first round.

Before Thursday, tournament officials had already introduced heat-related measures for matches in the women's draw, allowing for an extended break between the second and third sets.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecasts maximum temperatures in Melbourne of 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) for Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures are then expected to drop into the low 20s (high 60s and low 70s in degrees Fahrenheit) starting Saturday.

The heat wave currently blasting southern Australia comes after the country experienced its hottest year on record in 2013, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

CNN's Elizabeth Joseph and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:26 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
A year ago, 1,000 garment workers died in the collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Here's a look at what has changed since then.
updated 12:53 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Focus is on the fish as U.S. President starts tour with visit to legendary Tokyo restaurant.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Fireworks are fantastic and human endeavor has its place, but sometimes Mother Nature outshines any performance we can produce.
updated 11:06 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In 1987, China sent its very first email. Here's what it said,
updated 10:13 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
The world's new fastest elevator will fling you from earth to the 95th floor before you're done reading this article.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In one U.S. state, a new bill will allow ordinary citizens to carry guns in all sorts of places. Does it make you feel safer?
updated 10:10 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
updated 1:36 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
updated 1:34 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
updated 3:01 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT