Bushfires may be an issue in Melbourne: Djokovic

Novak Djokovic says he cannot rule out the chance that the 14-day Australian Open schedule could be disrupted by the bushfires currently raging on the eastern side of the continent.

The first Grand Slam of the season begins on January 20, with officials trying to maintain a brave face as smoke and haze drift into the Victorian capital from blazes to the southeast and the island state of Tasmania.

“Obviously, you have to always take that (schedule impact) into consideration,” the head of the ATP Player Council said in Brisbane amid ATP Cup competition.

“You have to consider because of some extreme weather and conditions.

“But I think that’s probably the very, very last option for anything. I think they’re going to try to do anything to not delay anything in terms of days and when it starts.

“If the quality of air is affected in Melbourne or Sydney, I think Tennis Australia probably will be forced to create some rules about it.”

Tennis Australia officials are no doubt watching local weather forecasts with intense interest as the state of play on fires reportedly covering millions of hectares continue to wreak havoc on humans and while killing up to half a billion wild creatures.

Djokovic, ranked second on the ATP compared the deteriorating air quality of Australia with that usually found in chronically polluted China.

“in China, for example, we play in conditions that are pretty tough in terms of quality of air.

“Every single player, male or female, will tell you the same. China is probably the worst in terms of quality of air. But this is something different.

“I’ve really never had this kind of experience before. We are not feeling anything here in Brisbane, thankfully. I haven’t spoken to any of the players so far in Sydney (also an ATP Cup site along with Perth).”

Djokovic added hopefully: “I hope that it’s going to dissipate, but if it stays like that, I don’t know, obviously, we have a council meeting in about a week or 10 days and we will discuss that for sure, if the conditions stay pretty much the same.

“The Australian Open starts at a certain time, so there’s a lot of different things involved. But health concern is a health concern for me and for anybody.”

Written by Bill Scott for Grandslamtennis.online. To read more visit grandslamtennis.online

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