Australian Open qualifier forced to retire after coughing fit

Ruben Hill
January 14, 2020

Fans took to Twitter when Dalila Jakupovic, who had won the first set and was nearing a tiebreak in the second, appeared to collapse at the back of the court in her match against Stefanie Vogel. "But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn't breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor".

Tournament organizers said last week that play would be confined to Melbourne Park's three roofed stadiums and eight indoor courts in the "unlikely case of extreme smoke conditions".

"From a health stand point it's the right call from officials".

"It's not healthy for us".

The air quality index in Melbourne on Tuesday morning was over 200 - meaning hazardous - as smoke from bushfires raging across the country blanketed Melbourne in a thick, grey haze.

The umpire in Sharapova's clash with German Laura Siegemund at the Kooyong Classic determined the conditions were too unsafe to continue.

Taking on German Laura Siegemund in the Australian Open warm-up tournament, the players and officials chose to stop play at 5-5 in the second set.

"I've been sick for a few weeks so I thought it was something to do with that".

"When I heard Laura [Siegemund] speak to the umpire and say she was struggling with it as well, I thought thankfully I'm not the only one".

"We have committed substantial extra resources to analysis, monitoring and logistics to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and fans throughout the summer and have no other plans to move events (following the cancellation of an event in Australia's capital Canberra)", Mr Tiley said in a statement.

Her retirement came only hours after tournament director Craig Tiley defended the decision to proceed with qualifiers after they were initially delayed due to poor air quality.

"We have now real-time raw data that we can collect - we have installed measuring devices on-site for air quality".

Melbourne started the day with hazardous air pollution as smoke from wildfires in Victoria's east and in southern New South Wales state drifted through.

Governing body Tennis Australia had earlier said in a statement that "conditions onsite (were) improving" and were being "constantly monitored" after Victoria state's environment watchdog warned residents to stay indoors, bring pets inside and keep windows closed.

Horse races at Werribee were also cancelled on Tuesday, as air quality at the tracks reached hazardous levels.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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