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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Australian Open matches delayed by smoke

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Australian Open matches delayed by smoke
Australian Open matches delayed by smoke

The Australian Open qualifying matches were delayed in Melbourne on Tuesday because of bushfire smoke.

Questions have been raised about the poor air quality as bushfires continue raging across the country.

Libby Hogan reports.

The Australian Open qualifying matches were scheduled to begin on Tuesday (January 14) but smoke from the bushfires has blanketed the city of Melbourne and forced the games to be delayed.

The matches were to start at 10am local time but were pushed back by an hour.

The CEO of Tennis Australia defended their decision: (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF TENNIS AUSTRALIA, CRAIG TILEY, SAYING: "As you all know and I say this consistently is the health and well-being of, not only the players, the fans, our staff is of utmost important and any decision we make will be around that, the health and well-being of that group." The grey haze was so thick health officials in the state of Victoria also issued a public health warning: (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICTORIA'S CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, BRETT SUTTON, SAYING: "So smoke today in Melbourne is in the very poor to hazardous range.

When you get to the hazardous range really anyone can develop symptoms. There is eye and nose and throat irritation, people can have a cough develop or worsening of cough, or even wheeze."The first round of the Australian Open tournament is to begin next week despite bushfires that have been burning for nearly three months across Australia.

The first round of the Australian Open tournament is to begin next week despite bushfires that have been burning for nearly three months across Australia.

Players are pledging money to the cause, including Serena Williams who donated her earnings after winning the Auckland Classic on Sunday.

And a campaign under the hastag #Aces4BushfireRelief is encouraging players and individuals to raise funds for every ace served to relief and recovery efforts.

Meanwhile as Tournament organisers monitor conditions in the lead up to the Grand Slam, along the Yarra River rowers and runners were out as normal, grinning and bearing the smokey haze.

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