Smoke from Australian bushfires forces tennis player to retire from Melbourne match

Ruben Hill
January 15, 2020

Former men's player Gilles Simon criticized Australian Open organizers.

Melbourne reportedly had the worst air quality in the world today, a title that has also been bestowed on Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra in the last few months.

"This is a new experience for all of us in how we manage air quality, so we have to listen to the experts", Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told The Associated Press.

It is the second successive day the start of play has been delayed because of the conditions in Melbourne.

'But is not expected to clear properly until Wednesday night, ' the bureau said.

Olivia Rogowska and Storm Standers are also in first round action.

However, that appears to have proven little comfort for Jakupovic, with photos from the arena showing a barely visible city skyline sitting behind a thick blanket of smoke haze. "That's why I went onto the floor because I couldn't walk anymore".

'All personnel should be relocated to a healthier and safe environment, such as an air-conditioned space, ' the union said in a alert.

The smoke was so bad that the Australian Open qualifying matches were delayed on Tuesday afternoon due to risky air.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-Canada's Eugenie Bouchard rallied to beat China's Xiaodi You 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Tuesday in her first qualifying match at the Australian Open.

Hazardous air quality alerts will be in place until at least this evening for the smoke blanketing central and eastern Victoria.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Tuesday: 'Overnight for Melbourne it did reach the worst in the world'.

The EPA has warned the air could be risky - particularly to vulnerable groups such as children under the age of 14, adults over the age of 65, people with heart and lung conditions (including asthma) and pregnant women.

About 18 bushfires were yet to be contained in NSW, Australia's most populous state, while in Victoria authorities upgraded warnings to show one fire burning at an "emergency level" and seven fires at the "Watch and Act" category, one level below emergency status.

There are 1500 firefighters battling the blazes, including 130 from overseas and another 140 global personnel will arrive later in January.

Less than 5mm of rain and thunderstorms are forecast for fire-affected areas, bringing dry lightning that could spark new fires.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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