ATP To Review Its Extreme Heat Policy Following Scorching Australian Open
A "week of roasting temperatures and multiple player meltdowns in Melbourne is likely to force a change of policy from the Association of Tennis Professionals" before next year's Australian Open, according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. Sources suggested that the issue "will be discussed at the next ATP player council meeting," in Indian Wells, Calif. in March, following a "fractious start to the year's first grand slam." But while the WTA has "applied an 'extreme heat rule' in the women's tour since 1992, which allows for an optional 10-minute break before the deciding set, there is no equivalent for the men." Individual tournaments are "left to form their own policies." Tournament referee Wayne McEwen refused to "offer an equivalent figure for when play on the outside courts should be suspended and the roofs on the two main arenas closed." ATP Exec Chair Chris Kermode suggested on Friday that these guidelines "were too vague." Kermode: "Clear messaging is paramount" (TELEGRAPH, 1/18). The BBC's Piers Newbery reported McKewen "has the ultimate say as to whether play is suspended at Melbourne Park." The decision is made "according to the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature [WBGT] reading, a combination of heat, humidity and wind speed." A WBGT of 26 "prompts ice vests to be despatched to all courts, and at 31.6 all women's singles matches get a 10-minute break between the second and third sets." However, there is "no break in the men's matches, and no set WBGT that triggers the 'extreme heat policy,' which sees all matches on uncovered courts halted at the end of the set in play and roofs brought across on the two main show courts" (BBC, 1/17).