The qualifying event at the Australian Open is slated to begin Tuesday in Melbourne, but has been pushed back from it's original 10am start by an hour due to mounting concerns this morning Down Under regarding the safety of court conditions with the current air quality index.
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Air quality concerns push back Australian Open qualifying
Published Jan 14, 2020
Images and videos shared across social media depicted the effects of smog from the widespread bush fires, as the index registered at "hazardous levels", before dropping back down to "very unhealthy". Noah Rubin, scheduled to face Hiroki Moriya on Wednesday, voiced his displeasure in the lack of communication provided between organizers and tournament entrants.
"Not even a single email has been received about air quality. Maybe an over reaction but the lack of information on how to proceed is scary," the American tweeted.
Rubin later added that the smell is "strong and thick", though countrywoman Bethanie Mattek-Sands was quick to point out this isn't uncharted territory for players.
"That’s an average day in Beijing and no one seems to notify us about playing there," the 2016 Olympic mixed doubles champion tweeted.
Australian Open officials later posted an update that despite the delay, conditions looked to be on an upward swing. The event hasn't announced a potential contingency plan if the issue escalates this week, though Melbourne Park does have an option to go indoors if needed.