Sport

Melbourne smoke causes Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic’s coughing fit

Australian Open officials had previously halted practice sessions and qualifying matchups due to the air quality in Melbourne, which has been hovering between "hazardous" and "very unhealthy" levels ever since the blanket of smoke settled across the city last night. I actually like heat. "That's why I went onto the floor because I couldn't walk anymore", Jakupovic said.

Tennis Australia issued a statement in which the said conditions were improving and would continue to be monitored, which was received poorly by players. "I think both of us felt it", Sharapova told reporters.

But that did not help qualifier Jakupovic, who had to be helped from the court after retiring at 6-4 5-6.

Ranked world number 180, Jakupovic was a set up and one point away from a tiebreak in the second set when she suffered the breathing difficulties and subsequently withdrew from the match. I warmed up and then I was most surprised by how bad it still was when I was walking out to the court.

Players and officials made a decision to stop play at 5-5 in the second set.

Melbourne started the day with hazardous air pollution as smoke from wildfires in Victoria's east and in southern New South Wales state drifted through.

Play eventually got underway at 11am - an hour later than planned - after the city's air was the worst quality in the world overnight because of the bushfires in the state's east.

Racing Victoria (RV), the state's governing body for thoroughbred racing, chose to scrap a meeting in Melbourne's western suburbs as the smoke haze made conditions unsuitable for racing.

It's an obvious concern with the world's eyes set to be glued on Melbourne during the two-week championship from Monday.

TA says it will work with their medical team, the Bureau of Meterology and Environment Protection Authority Victoria scientists when making decisions about whether it's healthy to play.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley also explained why practice was suspended on the outside courts.

"For those vulnerable groups - over 65s, under 15s, pregnant women and people with existing lung/heart disease or diabetes - we are saying avoid exposure to the smoke by staying indoors and limiting physical activity", he said.

"We have now real time raw data that we can collect - we have installed measuring devices on-site for air quality".



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