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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Australian Open 2014 conditions "inhumane"

Britain's Andy Murray has warned that someone is likely to have a heart attack if matches are allowed to continue in the heat wave. Running around on a court in 42C plus is no picnic yet organizers feel they haven't reached their "Extreme Heat Policy" yet, which shuts everything down.

Canada's Frank Dancevic fainted during his match on Day 2, a ball boy keeled over, plastic bottles started melting into the court and moths fell out of the sky, stone dead.  Trams carrying fans to and from Melbourne Park stopped when their steel tracks buckled in the heat and nine players have retired or forfeited their matches so far.
But according to organizers, it's not hot enough to stop play.

Frank Danevic

Danevic was furious and said conditions were "inhumane."  During his match, he started hallucinating about Snoopy and collapsed. When he woke up there were people standing all around him.  "It's hazardous out's dangerous....until somebody dies, they're just going to keep playing matches in the heat."

Wayne McEwen, the tournament referee, is the man who calls the shots, he's the one who decides whether to suspend play or not.  He can close the roofs on the main arenas when the temperature reaches a certain figure, but he won't tell anyone what that figure is. 

He gave a statement to the press on Tuesday which said a "low level of humidity kept conditions playable" and the best he could do was provide ice vests to every player and allowed an extra 10 minute break for female players who were required to play a deciding set.

This extra break upset Murray. "I don't know why there's different rules for men and women" he said.  "If there's a medical reason for it, then I'm fine with it, if there isn't, I'm not."

Then along comes Roger Federer who hardly raises a sweat and breezes into the second round.  "It's just a mental thing" he said.  "If you've trained enough your entire life, and you believe you can come through it, there's no reason to quit.  If you can't deal with it, you throw in the towel.