|Frying players fear fatal outcome at Melbourne tennis furnace yet again
Ivan Dodig feared he might die and world number one Serena Williams said the burning heat in Melbourne were making her “paranoid'' as sweltering conditions put some players at risk at the Australian Open once more today.
(Pictured, Spaniard Tommy Robredo tries his best to stave off the blistering heat between games against Julien Benneteau of France).
Temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius again today. Yesterday, some players slammed the playing conditions in Melbourne likening it to a ‘frying pan’ and even a furnace.
Dodig became the latest casualty when he retired with severe cramp after four sets against Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur, AFP reports.
“I was thinking I could maybe even die here,'' said Dodig, calling for an afternoon break. “It's not acceptable to play in these conditions,'' he added, according to reports.
Dodig's complaints follow dismal scenes Tuesday, when Canada's Frank Dancevic blacked out, China's Peng Shuai vomited in the extreme heat and a ball boy collapsed.
Ice packs and isotonic drinks remained in high demand today as temperatures hit 41.5 degrees Celsius in the early afternoon, but then dropped to 32 Celsius by 6 pm local time.
Dodig became the tournament's 10th withdrawal or retirement, after a Grand Slam record-equalling nine players pulled out during the first round.
Although most of the players cited injuries, Dutch player Robin Haase was another victim of cramp, which is associated with hot conditions.
Dancevic, who felt dizzy and then fainted during his loss to Benoit Paire, said players were more susceptible to injury when affected by the heat.
“I think when you're running around on court quite dizzy, you're more prone to getting injured also,'' Dancevic said. “You can't play the way you want to play, you can't move the way you want to.
“For sure, it can make players have injuries.''
Tournament organizers said no players needed medical help today, adding that conditions were not dangerous enough to warrant halting play.
Williams said she had become obsessed with staying hydrated and drinking enough water, to the extent that it was keeping her awake at night.
“I kept waking up in the middle of the night last night, just paranoid. I just wanted to stay hydrated,'' said the American.
``The last thing I want to do is to cramp in this weather. It can happen so easy. Just drinking a tremendous amount of water.''
Britain's Andy Murray has warned that organizers were risking a tragedy by forcing players to go out in intense heat, which yesterday was melting plastic water bottles on the court.
On Wednesday, British doubles player Colin Fleming said the courts were burning his body when he lay down to receive physio treatment.
“I said to the physio, It's literally boiling lying on this, so can you hurry up?'' he said. “It was frying my body.''
Temperatures are forecast to remain high on Thursday and Friday before dropping sharply on Saturday.