Australian Open 2014: Play on day four halted due to extreme heat policy finally being implemented after mass criticism

Andy Murray was one of many to express his concern over the soaring temperatures in Melbourne that led to play being suspended

The Australian Open finally implemented its extreme heat policy as temperatures once again rose over 40C in Melbourne.

Whether to put the policy into effect is this year entirely at the discretion of tournament referee Wayne McKewen after a change in the rules.

McKewen uses the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature reading, which takes into account humidity and wind direction as well as heat.

He had been criticised for allowing play to continue throughout Tuesday and Wednesday despite temperatures soaring above 40C.

Canadian Frank Dancevic and a ball boy both fainted on court, three players withdrew mid-match because of the effects of the heat and spectators left in their droves.

At just before 2pm local time on Thursday, the announcement came that the policy had been implemented, with the temperature measured at 42C.

Play did not stop immediately, with all players required to complete the set they were playing.

The roofs on Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena would then be closed before play resumed, while matches on uncovered courts would only start again once conditions were deemed safe.

It was quickly announced that would not be before 4pm, but the expectation was it would be later than that, with temperatures in Melbourne often not peaking until early evening.

 

On Tuesday the highest reading at Melbourne Park was 42.2C at 5.45pm.

There has been a mixed reaction from the players, with many accepting the decision not to stop, but Dancevic branded being made to play in such conditions "inhumane" while Ivan Dodig, who retired from his match on Wednesday, said he feared he might die.

Fourth seed Andy Murray, meanwhile, warned the tournament not to take undue risks.

Following his first-round match against Go Soeda, the Scot said: "It looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing. That's obviously not great.

"There's been some issues in other sports with players having heart attacks. I don't know exactly why that is. In this heat, that's when you're really pushing it to your limits. You don't want to see anything bad happen to anyone."

Varvara Lepchenko was the main victim on Thursday, the American taking a medical time-out during the second set of her second-round match against Simona Halep.

Lepchenko lay down across two chairs while a doctor examined her and had ice rubbed over her body before continuing. Having won the first set she managed only one more game in a 4-6 6-0 6-1 defeat.

Lepchenko described her ordeal after the match, saying: "At first I didn't understand what was going on but then my legs, my arms started to get heavier and I couldn't focus.

"I started feeling dizzier and dizzier. I tried everything and unfortunately I just couldn't continue playing 100 per cent.

"In the second set I couldn't focus on my returns, I couldn't see the ball, and then it was just like one step leading to another.

Murray had expressed concern followinghis first round win over Go Soeda Murray had expressed concern followinghis first round win over Go Soeda "Towards the middle of the second set I started feeling more and more dizzy, the time was going so fast and I needed more time between the points. I started feeling really hot on the top of my head and at one point I completely lost it."

The 27-year-old was unhappy she had been made to play in such conditions, adding: "I think they definitely should have not started the matches in the first place.

"And the same goes for a couple of days ago when I played my (first-round) match. It was the hottest time of the day and I got caught up in that.

"Somehow I survived, but today it didn't work. This is just too much."

It was announced there would be no play on uncovered courts until 6pm at the earliest, although the temperature had dipped below 40 degrees Celsius by 4pm.

A number of matches were cancelled for the day, including the doubles clash involving Britain's Jonny Marray, who had been due to play with Australian partner Paul Hanley against world number one pair Bob and Mike Bryan.

PA

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all