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Players query Open heat policy


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Samantha Stosur has urged Australian Open officials to apply some commonsense if forecast temperatures of 44 degrees hit Melbourne Park today.

The world’s best tennis players were asked to play on as the mercury soared above 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The brutal conditions told as the tournament featured a grand slam-record-equalling nine retirements in the first round of men’s and women’s singles matches.

Stosur, though, was equally concerned with the welfare of the general public and Open staff when she learned the heatwave was expected to worsen on day four of the championships.

“Look, 41’s pretty high. If it gets to 44, that is certainly another step up,” the big home hope said after enjoying slightly cooler night conditions in her second-round win on Wednesday.

“I think players and everybody involved have to be really careful. You’ve got to do what you can to obviously go out and play as best you can.

“If it’s not cooled off, then you’ve got to really do the right things.

“It’s not just for us. It’s the fans, the lines people, the ball kids. Everyone is suffering out there.

“I think there’s got to be some commonsense, whatever looked at, because you don’t want it to get dangerous and have somebody getting hurt because of it.”

With a low level of humidity meaning the extreme heat policy wasn’t invoked, the tournament’s chief medical office Dr Tim Wood said heat-related issues were down on Tuesday.

“There were only a couple of court calls today related to the heat and no player required medical intervention either during or following their match,” he said.

While Stosur has Thursday off, there are plenty of stars in action.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal plays Australian teen Thanasi Kokkinakis; Russian third seed Maria Sharapova is up against Italy’s Karen Knapp and defending women’s champion Victoria Azarenka faces Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Brit Andy Murray, former world No.1 Roger Federer and rising Australian duo Olivia Rogowska and Nick Kyrgios will all contest second round matches.

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