• Australian Open

Murray: Players collapsing looks terrible for tennis

ESPN staff
January 14, 2014
Murray through to second round of Australian Open

British No. 1 Andy Murray has warned Australian Open organisers over players competing in soaring temperatures at Melbourne Park, indicating it "only takes one bad thing to happen" to seriously tarnish the sport's image.

Following his comfortable first round victory over Japan's Go Soeda, Murray was quick to pinpoint the heat as a problematic factor; something which many other players criticised after coming off court.

Canada's Frank Dancevic and a ball boy required medical attention during day two of the major after the temperature in Melbourne reached 42 degrees Celsius, while Peng Shuai vomited during her match with Kurumi Nara.

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Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and John Isner all mentioned the heat following their time on court, and Murray voiced his concerns during his post-match press conference.

"It's definitely something that you maybe have to look at a little bit. As much as it's easy to say the conditions are safe - a few people said there's doctors and stuff saying it's fine - it only takes one bad thing to happen," Murray said.

"And it looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing. That's obviously not great. And I know when I went out to hit before the match, the conditions at 2:30pm-3pm were very, very, very tough. Anyone's going to struggle in that heat.

"Whether it's safe or not, I don't know. You just got to be very careful these days. There have been some issues in other sports with, you know, players having heart attacks or collapsing. In this heat, that's when you're really pushing it to your limits, you don't want to see anything bad happen to anyone."

No. 32 seed Ivan Dodig said he feared he "could maybe even die".

The Croatian withdrew two hours and 22 minutes into his second-round match with Damir Dzumhur, in which he led 2-1.

"It's not acceptable to play in these conditions," Dodig, calling for an afternoon break in play, said. "I was thinking I could maybe even die here.

"Thirty minutes after the match, I could not walk."

The tournament carries an extreme heat policy, which allows play to be suspended during times of excessive temperatures and humidity - but referee Wayne McKewen stated it was not necessary to instigate the policy during Tuesday's sessions.

"While conditions were hot and uncomfortable, the relatively low level of humidity ensured that conditions never deteriorated to a point where it was necessary to invoke the extreme heat policy," McKewen said.

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