|Female player breaks down in tears and another asks why play at all in Melbourne tennis furnace
American player Varvara Lepchenko who needed immediate medical attention amind the burning heat at the Australian Open in Melbourne today wondered why her match was even scheduled by the organizers today despite 42 degrees Celsius temperatures.
Yet another player broke down in tears.
(Pictured, exhausted French player Alize Cornet suffers in furnace-like conditions).
Lepchenko received medical treatment during the second set of her match against 11th-seeded Romanian Simona Halep, lying flat on her back during a changeover as trainers rubbed ice on her body, AP reports.
“At first I didn't understand what was going on but then my legs, my arms started to get heavier. I couldn't focus at one point and started feeling dizzier and dizzier,'' she said.
She continued but only won one more game in a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 defeat.
“They definitely should have just not started the matches in the first place,'' she said.
No 25 Alize Cornet of France sobbed on court after her draining 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi, which ended after 2.5 hours.
“I went really further than my limits,'' she said in her on-court interview. "It was really hot, that's why I'm so emotional.
“Doing something physical in this heat it's just unbelievable _ Even you guys [in the crowd] sitting in the sun, it must be terrible.''
The seats with no shade on the outer courts were virtually empty today. Spectators congregated instead under trees on the sides of courts or in the upper reaches of stands where temporary covers provided a little relief.
Play was halted in the afternoon when the temperature topped 42 degrees Celsius and the “Extreme Heat Policy’’ was enforced.
Matches on the outer courts were stopped at the end of sets that were in progress. Play was not scheduled to restart until 5 pm local time.
The retractable roofs at Rod Laver and Hisense arenas were also closed at the completion of the sets in progress. Play will resume afterward on the two show courts.
Temperatures continued to rise and were forecast to reach 44 degrees Celsius at Melbourne Park later Thursday.