Following concerns regarding a repetition of last year’s dangerous conditions during a heat wave in Melbourne at the Australian Open, organizers of the Grand Slam event revealed that they have altered the extreme heat policy for the coming tournament.
According to tournament director Craig Tiley (via Associated Press), the Australian Open will take into account weather forecasts that exceed 40 degrees Celsius and a Wet Bulb Global Temperature that exceeds 32.5. The second measurement takes into consideration wind direction and humidity as well.
However, as was the case last year, the tournament referee will have the final say on whether or not to apply the extreme heat policy during any given match. If the decision is taken, then the match will be suspended following the completion of a tiebreak, or once an even number of games has been reached in a set.
”We believe this update will clarify and streamline the communications process for both players and support staff,” Tiley said. ”We’ve consulted the playing group and this is seen as the fairest way to implement the policy by many of the top players.”
It should be noted that the Australian Open, which is hosted at Melbourne Park, features three courts with retractable roofs. However, following the 2014 edition of the event, which saw temperatures exceed 40 degrees C for three consecutive days, it was a necessary concern to address ahead of the tournament in January.
The Australian Open takes place between Jan. 19 – Feb. 1.