Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

High temperatures disrupt tennis at Australian Open in Melbourne

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 0352 GMT (1152 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tournament officials issue an "extreme heat policy" after temperatures top 40 Celsius
  • The move suspends current matches at the end of the set being played
  • It also stops new matches on outdoor courts until temperatures decline
  • The heat has already affected some players in matches this week

(CNN) -- Searing temperatures in Melbourne have disrupted play at the Australian Open, where tennis players have been struggling in the heat in recent days.

Organizers of the grand slam event said Thursday that they had introduced an "extreme heat policy" after temperatures rose above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

That means that matches already under way on court will be suspended at the end of the set being played.

The organizers said the roofs would be closed at the Rod Laver Arena and the Hisense Arena so that players could continue their matches on those courts.

But new matches won't start on outdoor courts "until the temperature falls back down to a temperature deemed fit for play by the tournament director," the statement on the website said.

Eastern Europe's Davis Cup domination
Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?
 A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.   A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.
 A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne. A child plays in the water fountain in the heat during day four of the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne.
Marion Bartoli: Why I left the game

The severe heat at Melbourne Park this week has already caused problems for players.

Canadian Frank Dancevic fainted during his defeat in the first round on Tuesday. He said he thought the conditions were "inhumane."

On the same day, China's Peng Shuai blamed the heat after she cramped up and vomited during her defeat to Kurumi Nara of Japan.

And it's not just players who have succumbed to the elements. One of the ball boys fainted during 11th-seed Milos Raonic's four-set victory over Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday.

Some players worried

Several players have voiced concerns about the conditions.

"Whether it's safe or not, I don't know. You've just got to be very careful these days," Britain's Andy Murray, who has been a finalist in Melbourne in three of the last four years, said Tuesday. "There's been some issues in other sports with, you know, players having heart attacks."

Women's world No. 1 Serena Williams said Wednesday the fear of dehydration was giving her sleepless nights.

But 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer appeared unfazed.

"Just deal with it, because it's the same for both (players)," he said Tuesday after defeating spirited Australian James Duckworth in the first round.

Before Thursday, tournament officials had already introduced heat-related measures for matches in the women's draw, allowing for an extended break between the second and third sets.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecasts maximum temperatures in Melbourne of 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) for Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures are then expected to drop into the low 20s (high 60s and low 70s in degrees Fahrenheit) starting Saturday.

The heat wave currently blasting southern Australia comes after the country experienced its hottest year on record in 2013, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

CNN's Elizabeth Joseph and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT