Tennis Australia will have a lot of answering to do after one of the players retired from her Australian Open qualifying match and others were left with breathing difficulties on the opening day of the competition.
World number 180, Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic was up by a set but had to retire from her match as she fell to a fit of a coughing fit following which she was unable to continue.
With the Australian bushfires having made news world over for weeks now, there had been question-marks over the organisation of the Australian Open 2020. The qualifiers have gone ahead and the first set of news coming in from Melbourne hasn’t been good.
Davila Jakupovic retires after suffering a horrendous coughing fit and breathing difficulties in the heavy, polluted air in Melbourne. Awful scenes pic.twitter.com/EPQUlf9DpF
— Simon Briggs (@simonrbriggs) January 14, 2020
Speaking to the media after retiring from the match in the second set, Jakupovic said she retired from the match owing to fears she might collapse.
“That’s why I went onto the floor because I couldn’t walk anymore.”
She also revealed:
“I don’t have asthma and never had breathing problems. I actually like heat. The physio came again and I thought it would be better. But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn’t breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor.”
Other players affected by the air quality included Australia’s Bernard Tomic and Eugienie Bouchard, both of whom needed to take timeouts because of the same issue. While Tomic was sent packing in straight sets by Denis Kudla, Bouchard needed three sets to get past You Xiaodi in her opener.
There have been warnings issued to the people in Melbourne to stay indoors as much as possible because of the poor air quality. Adding to their issues, the temperatures have fallen in the city and that has brought the offending air particles closer to the ground level.
The main draw of the Australian Open kick-starts from Monday, January 20. Here’s how you can watch the 2020 Australian Open live online and on TV.