Oppressive heat impacting Sydney tournament

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 /by

With temperatures reaching 106 degrees in Sydney on Tuesday, some players felt play should have been suspended.

Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-4, 6-3, said it was “too hot to play tennis. Even for players, for ball kids, for the people sitting out there, I think it’s just too hot. We just see each other in the locker room after the matches and I think all of us just saying that it’s too hot. Sometimes you’re playing because it’s automatic thing and sometimes not thinking because it’s just so hot that you cannot really.”

The tournament did provide more ice, towels, and additional drinks for the players, and gave them extra time in between the second and third sets to cool off.

Jelena Jankovic, who lost a third-set tiebreaker to Roberta Vinci, said it felt like 122 degrees on court.

“Then the feet are burning; my head was like going to explode there,” she said. “It’s so tough to cool down. Even the drink, like when you’re drinking them they feel like you’re drinking tea because they get so warm. … It’s really like almost not human. … We are still alive, and that’s what matters.”

In between the second and third sets of her 7-6 (3), 1-6, 7-6 (1) win over Ekaterina Makarova, Dominika Cibulkova pulled a career first when she jumped into an ice bath.

“I was so down and so tired so I had to try something,” she said. I was saying ‘It’s so cold, it’s so cold, someone help.’ But then I felt my legs weren’t so heavy and tired. … I think there should be a heat rule that when it’s over 100 degrees they should suspend matches until the night.”

However, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who overcame Caroline Wozniacki in three sets, said that players should have to adjust to all conditions.

“I think it shows you one more time how the tennis is right now, how players have to be fit to be able to play in the hot conditions, in the wind conditions, in anything,” said Kuznetsova, who played the longest Grand Slam women’s match ever when she lost to Francesca Schiavone in four hours and 44 minutes at the 2011 Australian Open. “We’re like iron woman almost.”

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