British tennis player Liam Broady has slammed Australian Open organisers for their handling of Melbourne’s smoke-covered competition, demanding further protections for players on the circuit.
Taking to Twitter this morning, Broady, who was eliminated in a 3-6, 0-6 match by Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka, said thinking about the conditions of the Tuesday contest “boils my blood.”
The 26-year-old said that while Melbourne’s air quality was ranked among the worst in the world, tournament organisers deemed the conditions “playable.”
“Citizens of Melbourne were warned to keep their animals indoors the day I played qualifying, and yet we were expected to go outside for high intensity physical competition?” he said.
The world #234 called for the establishment of a players’ union, echoing the sentiments of world #2 Novak Djokovic.
— Liam Broady (@Liambroady) January 15, 2020
Broady’s comments have received support from other Australian Open challengers. Compatriot Jay Clarke, who lost his Tuesday bout 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 to Slovenia’s Blaž Kavčič, said “my body literally failed me on that day and I wasn’t the only one”.
Similarly, German player Dustin Clark said it was the first time he’d ever needed an asthma inhaler on the court.
The uptick in player complaints comes after Slovenian hopeful Dalila Jakupovic bowed out of her match due to a severe coughing fit.
Speaking to BBC after her retirement from the match, Jakupovic said conditions on Tuesday were “dangerous”, and that “whoever we talk to, all the players had headaches, were feeling chest pains, had problems breathing.
“It was horrible.”
In a statement obtained by ABC yesterday, a tournament spokesperson said any decisions to postpone play would be made in “close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria.”
Not great.Image: Graham Denholm / Getty Images