Wednesday, July 30, 2014   

Aussies downplay risks of ‘sauna’ tennis in Melbourne
(01-14 18:35)

One player fainted mid-match as temperatures topped 42 degrees Celsius at the Australian Open in Melbourne today. Others said it felt like they were playing tennis in a sauna, or on a frying pan that sizzled their soles.
The scorching heat on day two thinned crowds at Melbourne Park and prompted players to cool off between points with bags of ice on their heads or draped over their necks. Little relief was expected this week, with similar heat forecast until Friday.
The tournament has not yet invoked its “Extreme Heat Policy,'' saying the decision is based on a quotient of air temperature, humidity and wind speed.
Officials have played down health risks.
“Of course there were a few players who experienced heat-related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match,'' Tim Wood, the tournament's chief medical officer, said in a statement.
A ball girl was treated for heat stress during a morning match, and the tournament shortened rotations for the ball kids to 45-minute shifts. –AP


   
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