Australia fires: Players struggle with poor air quality at Australian Open

Australia fires: Players struggle with poor air quality at Australian Open


Qualifying was delayed by an hour in Melbourne because of the poor air quality

A player was forced to retire from Australian Open qualifying after suffering a coughing fit brought on by the poor air quality resulting from ongoing bushfires in the country.

Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic had to be helped off court after she retired at 6-5 5-6 against Swiss Stefanie Vogele in the first round in Melbourne.

“It was really bad. I never experienced something like this,” Jakupovic said.

“I was really scared I would collapse because I couldn’t walk any more.”

Qualifying was delayed by an hour on Tuesday and practice was temporarily suspended because of the air quality.

Organisers said the conditions were expected to improve and would be “monitored constantly”.

Asked about the decision to continue with qualifying, Jakupovic said: “I think it was not fair because it’s not healthy for us.

“I was surprised. I thought we would not be playing today but we really don’t have much choice.”

People in Melbourne were advised to stay indoors