Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
Melbourne: Just before the start of the Australian Open -- first Grand Slam of the year -- world number one tennis player and a strong contender to lift the title - Rafael Nadal- expressed his disappointment over the blue turf. According to the Spaniard, it was playing comparatively faster. But as the tournament started, the focus has been shifted entirely to the scorching heat, which started taking a toll on players from the very first day.
Till the third day of the event, more than ten players had retired from the middle of their respective matches, due to the hot conditions. The searing hot atmosphere is another challenge for the players apart from winning their matches. Roasting heat is not allowing players to go for long rallies as it’s difficult to survive at the court for long.
Temperature at Melbourne Park has been constantly touching 42 degrees, forcing players to take small breaks in between a set or a match. The players have found solace in ice packs and liquids, which are in serious demand at Melbourne.
In the initial stages of the tournament, players are looking more worried about the heat, rather than their opponents. Here are the reactions of some from the players about the unbearable heat at Melbourne Park.
“Today, 30 mins after the match i couldn’t walk. There were ten people around me. I was thinking, I could maybe even die here.” Ivan Dodig.
“I just want to stay hydrated. The last thing I want to do is to cramp in this weather.” Serena Williams.
“You don’t want to spend too much time in the heat. You want to try to win as quickly as possible.” Novak Djokovic.