Australian Open 2014: Eggs frying on court, spectacular thunder storms and extreme heat - just another day in Melbourne
Play was suspended for four hours due to the extreme conditions
With flashes of thunder and lightning, soaring temperatures and the ability to fry an egg on the court surface, the impact of a heatwave at the Australian Open has produced quite a spectacle.
Temperatures in some areas of Melbourne Park were recorded at a sizzling 42 degrees Centigrade on Thursday, causing play to be suspended as players struggled to cope with the difficult conditions. Stars such as Andy Murray and Serena Williams have both expressed their dissatisfaction at the lack of protection from the competition's referee, Wayne McEwen, this week.
McEwen eventually enforced a four-hour suspension of play after a thunderstorm hit Melbourne, before resuming proceedings around 6pm local time. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have all come through their matches with consummate ease as they cruised into the third round, but other players have not been so lucky.
Canadian player Frank Dancevic, who fainted during his match against Benoit Paire before crashing out in the first round, labelled the conditions as "inhumane." There were nine retirements in the first round alone - equalling the record for most retirements in a single round in the Open era.
Among the retirees was Bernard Tomic, who was forced to quit his match with top seed Rafael Nadal after picking up a groin injury. Other notable withdrawals included Tommy Haas, Alex Bogomolov Jr. and John Isner as this week's weather took its toll on the fatigued players.
Ivan Dodig, seeded 32nd in the tournament, became the 10th player to pull out after trailing Bosnian qualifier Damir Dzumhur 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 4-1. The 29-year-old said after the match he felt he "was going to die" and claimed that he "could not walk for 30 minutes after the match", raising concerns about the welfare of the players on court.
But the weather has not just affected the physicality of the players. Alize Cornet broke down in tears after becoming overwhelmed by the conditions, and even volunteers were affected, with a ball-boy requiring medical attention from the doctor on site on Monday.
Australian breakfast show Sunrise uploaded a picture on their Twitter account to give their viewers a visual sense of just how unbearable the weather was - by frying an egg on the surface of the court. Forecasters say that temperatures are set to continue at around 40C on Friday before cooling down to around 20C for the remainder of the tournament.
The news from Melbourne on Thursday...
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