|(Tennis) Fans stay home, players crumble in Melbourne furnace
Much tougher days are in store for competitors at the Australia Open, which has been described as a ‘frying pan.’
One player said the bottom of her water bottle melted. The crowds dropped off, too, on the second day today.
(Pictured, Frank Dancevic of Canada lies on the court after collapsing during his first round match against Benoit Paire, right, of France).
The heat at Melbourne Park topped 42 degrees Celsius and the forecast was for more high temperatures until Friday. It was even hotter in nearby Avalon, which peaked above 45C.
A hot, gusty breeze swirled across Melbourne Park all day, making conditions more challenging. The crowd for the day session was 35,571, almost 12,000 down on day one.
Players draped bags of ice over their necks and shoulders and sat under covered seats in the changeovers. They retreated into the shade at the back of the courts between points.
Spectators covered their heads and shoulders with damp towels to cool off and queued in front of large electric fans blasting water at their faces.
A ball boy was treated for heat stress during a morning match.
Caroline Wozniacki said the court was scorching in her 6-0, 6-2 win over Lourdes Dominguez Lino, which started at 11 am local time
she did everything she could to keep cool.
“Ice bags, ice towels, everything,'' Wozniacki said. “I put the bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath, the plastic, so you knew it was warm.''—AP