Heat Has Forced Single-Round Record Number Of Competitors To Withdraw From Aussie Open
The Australian Open sick bay "is overloaded," with player withdrawals "now reaching record numbers at sweltering Melbourne Park," according to Darren Walton of the AAP. Croatian Ivan Dodig "is the latest casualty," with the 32nd seed "calling it quits" on Wednesday. Eight men and one woman were "unable to complete their opening matches, equalling the record for most retirements in a single round at any major in the 45-year professional era" (AAP, 1/15).
SOME LIKE IT HOT: In N.Y., Tom Perrotta reported Roger Federer said that the tournament "shouldn't bother with its heat policy, which allows stadium roofs to be closed in extreme conditions." Federer: "It should always stay open, honestly." The roofs remained open Tuesday. But crowds "were thinner than usual, and many fans fled for shade in the afternoon" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/14). In London, Kevin Mitchell wrote there are "perfectly adequate regulations in place to give players the best chance of performing in safety." If they "genuinely feel they are risking their health ... there should be no shame in quitting. It's only sport." The heat was "not really the deciding factor in most cases" of players retiring (GUARDIAN, 1/14).