Wildfire threatening to derail Australian Open

The hazardous condition caused by the massive wildfire in Australia is threatening the Australian Open tennis tournament scheduled for January 20.

With over 200 active fires ablaze, smoke and air quality in Melbourne are causing concerns for the athletes. According to the country’s Environmental Protection Authority, levels of air pollutants have reached “very poor” levels.

Amidst the reports of air quality, the Association of Tennis Professional Player Council president Novak Djokovic was asked about the possibility of postponement of the tournament currently scheduled for (Jan 20).

“You have to consider it because of the extreme weather conditions. But that’s probably the very, very last option. If it comes down to… the conditions affecting the health of the players, you have to consider it,” said Djokovic.

Regardless of the concerns about the impact of the fires on player health, Tennis Australia (TA), the organizers of the tournament, have said that they have no plans to move or delay the Australian Open matches, but that contingency measures are already in place.

TA chief executive Craig Tiley stated: “The health of players, fans and staff is a priority at all times and we will continue to make these decisions with that in mind. We have access to real-time monitoring of air quality at all of our venues and are working closely with medical personnel and local experts onsite to ensure we have the best possible information available to make any decisions regarding whether play should be halted at any point.”