Seriously, the Australian Open heat is ridiculous. It’s day 2 of the “Happy Slam” but there’s really nothing “Happy” about it if you’re competing at the beginning of a coming Australian heatwave.
On the start of Day 2 at the 2014 Australian Open, the heat started to rise, then it rose some more; during the middle of the Paire vs. Dancevic match out on Court 6, the air temperature rose to about 108 degrees Fahrenheit. That air temperature coupled with the strong sun, drove the temperature of the tennis court to closer to 146 degree Fahrenheit! It’s ridiculous to think that players were battling it out in that kind of heat without officials offering more than a few ice pack, a ball kid with an umbrella, and extra bottles of water.
Here’s a GIF of Canadian Frank Dancevic falling over and fainting from the extreme heat (courtesy of The Tennis Channel):
There are rules to this ridiculous heat at the Australian Open
According to the officials at the Australian Open, the following rules apply,
The Australian Open Extreme Heat Policy (EHP) will be applied at the Referee’s discretion and may be altered at any time.
At the Referee’s discretion, when the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature only (WBGT) is equal to or above the pre-determined threshold, the Referee may suspend the commencement of any further matches on outside courts.
Any matches currently in progress will continue until the end of the current set. At the completion of the set, play will be suspended.
Where play in any match commences outdoors (or with a roof open) and the WBGT temperature is equal to or exceeds the pre-determined threshold, the match will continue until the completion of the set. At the end of the set a decision may be made by the Referee to close the roof for the remainder of the match and the following matches, when the EHP is still in effect.
A roof will only be closed because of extreme heat if a decision has been made by the Referee to suspend the completion or commencement of matches on the outdoor courts.
Supplement for women’s singles and junior singles only; to allow a 10-minute break between the second and third sets when a WBGT reading of 28 has been recorded prior to the calling of the match by Tournament Control. Readings are continually made throughout the day.
The 10-minute break will not apply between the second and third sets, if play had previously been suspended after the first set due to the EHP.
So, let me think about this, it’s up the discression of the Chair Umpire and the rule only applies to the Juniors playing and the WTA player but not the ATP players.So, what this means is that the guys will have to play through the heat for best of 5 sets but the ladies get 10 minute breaks between sets in their best of 3 matches (if the EHP is instated).
Australian Open heat is ridiculous
Tennis Australia and the ATP really need to sit down and think about this for a quick minute. We have players passing out, players throwing up, medical time outs being called for heat exhaustion, and yet they play on? Not only are the tournament organizers endangering the players with this ridiculous heat, but the spectators are also putting themselves in danger by being exposed to these extreme conditions down under. Let’s not forget about the poor kids who are also out there in the extreme heat retrieving balls and towels for the players; I’ve heard that some of these poor kids have suffered from heat stroke!
A possible solution would be to make the first major 3 weeks long by only playing matches at dusk and into the morning. This way, while it’s still warm, the sun wouldn’t be bearing down on the players. Besides, I think the fans would get a kick out of “night only” matches; heck even the CitiOpen does this during the weekday matches in DC. So, why not right?