Tennis Australia has been slammed for letting play go ahead at the Australian Open yesterday.
Hazardous smoke caused the start time for qualifiers to be delayed but players took to the court in the afternoon.
It proved to be a disastrous decision with players literally brought to their knees by the smoke.
Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic collapsed to the court in a coughing fit two hours into her match, and was forced to retire.
Davila Jakupovic retires after suffering a horrendous coughing fit and breathing difficulties in the heavy, polluted air in Melbourne. Awful scenes pic.twitter.com/EPQUlf9DpF
— Simon Briggs (@simonrbriggs) January 14, 2020
“I think it was not fair because it’s not healthy for us,” she said.
“I was surprised. I thought we would not be playing today but we really don’t have much choice.
“If they don’t put us on the court, maybe we get fined — I don’t know.
“It would be maybe better to see if tomorrow is better. They still have time.
“It was really bad. I never experienced something like this and I was really scared. I was scared that I would collapse. That’s why I went on the floor. Because I couldn’t walk any more. When I was on the ground it was easier to get some air.”
There are going to be good days and bad days with the air #AusOpen as the wind changes direction.
This was clearly a bad day, and they almost certainly should not have played.
Beyond players coughing or struggling to breathe in the moment, who knows what long term effects are?
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 14, 2020
The decision came under fire from a number of high profile players like Maria Sharapova, Eugenie Bouchard and Bernard Tomic who said he “couldn’t breathe” on court.
Ballkid has collapsed outside of the court. Both Kavcic & Clarke went over gave them drinks, checked on the welfare.
The child has wet towels on them. Needs treatment #AusOpen
— Everybody Wang Chung Tonight (@Yes_IamSancho) January 14, 2020