- The bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales have been blanketing Melbourne in a smoky haze.
- The smoke in Melbourne has been affecting tennis players in the lead up to the Australian Open.
- Tennis Australia told Business Insider Australia the measures its taking to ensure the Australian Open goes ahead as planned.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
The bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales have been blanketing parts of the state with a smoky haze which has been affecting tennis players in the lead up to the Australian Open.
A spokesperson from Tennis Australia told Business Insider Australia in an email there has been much speculation about bushfire smoke affecting the tournament. The spokesperson highlighted a number of measures the organisation has implemented "to ensure the Australian Open will be able to run as scheduled."
"Firstly, we have committed substantial extra resources to analysis, monitoring and logistics to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and fans throughout the tournament," the spokesperson said.
"There will meteorological and air quality experts onsite throughout the tournament to analyse all available live data and assess in real-time the air quality at Melbourne Park."
In addition, Tennis Australia plans on using the information provided by the experts, as well as advice from its medical personnel and "other local experts onsite" to have the best information available to make any decisions regarding play.
"We are extremely fortunate to have three roofed-stadiums and eight indoor courts at Melbourne Park," the spokesperson added. "For a number of years this has allowed us to effectively weather-proof the Australian Open.
"While the conditions we are currently facing are unusual and problematic, we are confident we will again deliver a world-class Australian Open."
Tennis players have already been affected by bushfire smoke
On Tuesday, Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic had to abandon her Australian Open qualifying match after suffering a coughing fit caused by the bushfire smoke.
Awful scenes in Melbourne.
Dalila Jakupovic has abandoned her #AusOpen qualifying match after suffering a coughing fit while playing in thick smoke caused by the #AustralianFires. pic.twitter.com/WAJv6TzTjW
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) January 14, 2020
Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic had to seek medical treatment after finding it difficult to breathe.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 14, 2020
Tennis Australia has also had to suspend and delay practice games due to air quality concerns.
Melbourne's air quality was considered "hazardous" on Tuesday, the ABC reported, which caused horse races to cancel and pools to close. On Thursday the Environment Protection Authority Victoria deemed the current air quality in Melbourne to be "moderate".
And with the rain that fell across Melbourne yesterday, it could mean some respite for not only bushfire victims but the tennis players as well.