Canadian Frank Dancevic
slammed Australian Open organisers for forcing players to compete in "inhumane" conditions after he collapsed on court as temperatures rose to 41 degrees Celsius yesterday.
Dancevic, who collapsed during the second set of his first round match against France
's Benoit Paire
on the uncovered court six at Melbourne
Park and passed out for a minute, said conditions were plainly dangerous for the players.
"I think it's inhumane, I don't think it's fair to anybody, to the players, to the fans, to the sport, when you see players pulling out of matches, passing out," he told reporters.
"I've played five set matches all my life and being out there for a set and a half and passing out with heat-stroke, it's not normal.
"Having players with so many problems and complaining to the tournament that it's too hot to play, until somebody dies, they're just keep going on with it and putting matches on in this heat.
"I personally don't think it's fair and I know a lot of players don't think it's fair."
The tournament's "extreme heat" contingency plan was put into force for women's matches yesterday, allowing an extra 10-minute break between the second and third sets.
Under a change to the rules for this year, however, the decision on whether to stop matches at the tournament is now at the discretion of tournament director Wayne McKewen
Rather than use the raw Celsius readings to assess the heat, organisers prefer to use the Wet Bulb Global Temperature composite, which also gauges humidity and wind to identify the perceived conditions.
Organisers said temperatures peaked at 42.2 degrees Celsius in the early evening and conditions had never reached the point where play would be stopped.
"We have to reach a minimum threshold and have a forecast that it will be sustained for a reasonable time," McKewen said in a statement.
"That didn't happen. While conditions were hot and uncomfortable, the relatively low level of humidity ensured play would continue."
Dancevic, who said he had felt dizzy from the middle of the second set, resumed after medical attention but unsurprisingly ending up losing 7-6 6-3 6-4.
's Peng Shuai
also said the heat had caused her to cramp up and vomit and she had to be helped from the court after her 7-5 4-6 6-3 defeat to Japan
's Kurumi Nara.
Most competitors, though, followed Roger Federer
's line that, although conditions were tough, they were the same for both players.
"It's just a mental thing," the Swiss said, albeit before Dancevic collapsed. "If you've trained hard enough your entire life or the last few weeks and you believe you can do it and come through it, there's no reason.
"If you can't deal with it, you throw in the towel."