Amid concerns of postponement due to detrimental air quality in Melbourne, the Australian Open will be played as scheduled.
In the past few months, Australian has been terrorized with bushfires that have spread across the states of New South Wales and Victoria leaving the latter’s capital covered in a thick blanket of smoke.
Subject to the conditions in Melbourne, ATP players’ council president Novak Djokovic spoke out on the possibility of postponing or delaying the start of the tournament due to the deteriorating air quality which could affect the health of the players. Djokovic said that his team was talking to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley to figure out the next step.
However, Tiley insisted that the Australian Open will be played as scheduled.
Tiley was insistent that there was no need to postpone the tournament especially given that the Park has three stadium roofs where with a “controlled environment”, play can continue. According to Tiley, the tournament will work with the Bureau of Meteorology and medical experts to ensure the safety of the players, staff and fans.
With on-site air quality monitoring added as a new measure, data will be available live on the quality of air in Melbourne Park.
Ahead of the first Grand Slam of the season, players will participate in the AO Rally for Relief to contribute to the funds raised for people affected by the bushfires. Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas will participate in the exhibition event on January 15.
Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic have each donated AUSD 25,000, following suit of fellow tennis player Nick Kyrgios, to Australia’s bushfire relief.
While the Canberra International was relocated to Bendigo due to smoke haze and hazardous air quality, with the fire being miles away and no immediate danger to the city of Melbourne, the Australian Open will begin at Melbourne Park on January 20.