Decision to enact extreme heat policy at Australian Open ‘no surprise’

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16 Jan 2019

Some were calling it barbaric, others inhumane.

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With temperatures exceeding forty degrees on court, it was hot enough to fry an egg, so it was no surprise the extreme heat policy was implemented at the Australian Open. It was a decision that left some players who were forced to play through the soaring temperatures disgruntled.

World number three Maria Sharapova was one athlete stuck under the baking sun – battling on court for two hours and twenty seven minutes. The sweltering conditions clearly exhausted the Russian. Leaving her seriously drained after a mammoth three set effort against Italy’s Karin Knapp. As the sweat dribbled down the world’s highest paid sportswoman conceded for once she was looking forward to an ice bath.

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By many metrics Sharapova got off easy. Some players were in need of medical assistance court side. Varvar Lepchenko and Thomaz Bellucci both requiring assistance, and unsurprisingly both surrendered their matches.

On centre court this afternoon Australian fans held their breath as yet another home hopeful took on the raging bull, world number one Rafael Nadal. Thanasi Kokkinakis was eager to put on a more lengthy display than his higher ranked countryman Bernard Tomic managed in the first round and the early signs were good.

The mismatch was hugely evident on paper. The Spaniard has amassed more than thirteen grand slams, his opponent clutching his racket at the other end, has barely one year for every slam Nadal has. But at just seventeen years of age Kokkinakis took the fight to the top seed.

Wearing clothing that would be more befitting to a beach the South Australian looked comfortable in the presence of tennis greatness and fought gallantly in the first set.

The Australian hopeful was hitting plenty of wonderful shots, but Nadal had an answer for most of them.

Last night Perth’s Matt Ebden was worn down by big gun Vasek Pospisil, while compatriot Sam Stosur was in steam-roll mode against Tsvetana Pironkova

The world number seventeen’s scorching forehand dismantling the woman who clinched the Sydney International title less than a week ago in just over an hour. Australian tennis fans will be hopeful slamming Sammy can add to her US Open triumph with another title – this time in front of home fans on Rod Laver Arena.

While Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt couldn’t create the form that lofted both to Tennis’ apex, it’s clear that the torch has been past to James Duckworth, Ebden, Kokkinakas and Nick Kyrgios

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