This year’s first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open 2014 has been heavily criticised by both the players and the fans as the heat reached temperatures of 42C on the opening day. Many professional players admitted that they had never played in such hot temperatures, with one professional tennis player, Frank Dancevic actually fainting on court after only a set and half. The Canadian ended up losing his first round match against Benoit Paire on Court 6, which was uncovered and hence why it was so hot.
Whilst Dancevic fainted on Court 6, Andy Murray managed to stay conscious in his triumphant victory over Go Soeda, but he is the world number four and is expected to cope in tough conditions. The Australian heat wave has caused some major problems at the Australian Open as there have been many incidents already, such as Caroline Wozniacki’s plastic water bottle melting on court. Additionally, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga revealed that his shoes softened due to the court being so hot, whilst Jelena Jankovic burnt herself from sitting on an uncovered seat.
Whilst players had different ways of keeping themselves cool, such as wearing bags of ice around their necks and retreating to the shade in between points, the supporters often stood in front of powerful fans to stay cool. However, the ball boys and girls are finding it very hard in the harsh conditions as one ball boy collapsed during his shift and needed medical attention on court. This resulted in the officials at the Australian Open reducing the ball boys and girls’ shifts from 1 hour long to 45 minutes long to make sure that they don’t overheat.
The Canadian player who fainted on court, Frank Dancevic spoke out following his Australian Open defeat, “Until somebody dies, they just keep going on with it and putting matches on in this heat. It’s inhumane, I don’t think it’s fair to anybody. I’ve played five-set matches all my life and being out there for a set and a half and passing out with heat-stroke is not normal.” Furthermore, the defending women’s Champion, Victoria Azarenka described the conditions as “pretty hot, like you’re dancing in a frying pan.”
Author Daniel Foster.
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