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Furious players hit out at confusion over heat policy at Aus Open

Maria Sharapova demanded more clarity from organisers on their heat policy yesterday after surviving a brutal three-hour marathon in scorching conditions at the Australian Open

Melbourne: Maria Sharapova demanded more clarity from organisers on their heat policy yesterday after surviving a brutal three-hour marathon in scorching conditions at the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova cools off during a break yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

The third seed battled through a third set lasting nearly two hours to overcome Karin Knapp 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 in temperatures above 40 Celsius.

The conditions were so tough that organisers suspended play at the tournament midway through the third set. However, under tournament rules, Sharapova and Knapp had to finish the set before coming off. 

“There is no way getting around the fact that the conditions were extremely difficult, and have been for the last few days,” she said.

“I mean, I think the question I have is no one really knows what the limit is. Not the players; the trainers themselves, when you ask them when will the roof be closed?

“No one actually knows what that number is in comparison to humidity or the actual heat. Sometimes you wish you know, because it just depends on I’m not sure who, a referee or the meteorologist, and there are just a lot of questions in the air that maybe should be solved.”

France’s Alize Cornet was also left wondering about the heat policy, noting that conditions were very similar on Tuesday when temperatures peaked at 42.2 Celsius.

“On Tuesday I wonder why they didn’t stop play. It was like an oven,” she said. “The wind was scorching, and some people fainted. “They shouldn’t go to such an extreme.

“Why today and not on Tuesday? The conditions are similar, it’s maybe one degree more. It looks like their decision is made a bit on the fly, and that’s a pity.”

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