Heat knocking Aussie Open players for a loop
By JUSTIN BERGMAN
MELBOURNE, Australia — French player Alize Cornet has called for the extreme heat policy at the Australian Open to be re-evaluated after she said she nearly fainted in the broiling temperatures during her third-round match Friday at Melbourne Park.
Other players echoed her concerns, with Rafael Nadal saying playing in such extreme heat can be “a little bit dangerous for the health.”
“Have been very, very tough conditions yesterday and today,” said the top-ranked Nadal, who played at night on Friday after the temperatures had dropped. “It’s not nice to see players suffering that much on court.”
The tournament’s extreme heat policy calls for the roofs to be closed on the main show courts and play to be suspended on outer courts when the temperature reaches 104 Fahrenheit and the wet-bulb globe temperature, which takes into account humidity and wind speed, reaches 90.5 degrees.
The high temperature Friday marginally topped 104, but the WBGT remained below the threshold, so play was not halted.
Cornet said she began feeling dizzy at the beginning of the second set against Belgium’s Elise Mertens and, at one point, fell to her back on the court in obvious distress. She received a medical timeout so a trainer could check her pulse and blood pressure and wrap her in an ice vest before she returned to the court.
Cornet was able to finish the match, losing 7-5, 6-4. But she later said it was “dangerous” to play in that kind of heat.