Rafael Nadal describes Australian Open conditions ‘dangerous to health’

Tennis


World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has joined calls for a review into the heat policy of the Australian Open after several players complained about the extreme heat in Melbourne.

The tournament’s current 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 exceeds 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and the wet-bulb globe temperature, which takes into account humidity and wind speed, reaches 32.5 Celsius (90.5 Fahrenheit).

The policy was last enforced in 2014 when play was suspended when Melbourne had three consecutive days of extreme heat. However, there have been times during the tournament where the temperature has gone above the limit but not the wet-bulb globe temperature.

Nadal, who came through a straight-sets victory over Damir Dzumhur on day five, has expressed his concern that the heat is not safe for the players’ health.

“[There] have been very, very tough conditions yesterday and today,” Nadal said. “Yeah, sometimes is too much and can become little bit dangerous for health. That’s the real thing. It’s not nice to see players suffering that much on court.

“But there is one positive thing, only one: was not humid. That makes a big difference. Even if is very warm, [it is] still very tough.”

Nadal’s comments come after the tournament’s organisers defended their decision not to stop play after Novak Djokovic called the conditions “brutal” and “right on the limit”.



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