Dalila Jakupovic questioned the tournament organizers over the scheduling of the Australian Open amidst the hazardous air quality situation. Jakupovic had to retire from the Australian Open qualifiers on Tuesday after she collapsed following a coughing fit due to the wildfires in the country.
Updated air quality forecast for today and the next 3 days.— EPA Victoria (@EPA_Victoria) January 15, 2020
MODERATE to HAZARDOUS conditions are forecast. EPA advises people to take care & stay indoors away from smoke where possible.
For up to date air information visit: https://t.co/DJVwB1WRQn pic.twitter.com/EfhCUvYurm
Jakupovic was leading the match at the time of the incident but due to the health difficulty, was forced to retire. After the match, she said, "It was really bad. I never experienced something like this. I was really scared that I would collapse. I don’t have asthma and never had breathing problems. I actually like heat. The physio came again and I thought it would be better. But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn’t breathe anymore and I just fell to the floor.
She said that the tournament should not have been conducted since it was a serious health concern for the players and that it was unfair on them. "I think it was not fair because it's not healthy for us. I was surprised. I thought we would not be playing today but we really don't have much choice."
Conditions at Melbourne Park are being constantly monitored and further decisions will be made using the onsite data and in close consultation with our medical team, @BOM_au and scientists from @EPA_Victoria.— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 14, 2020
Melbourne has been witnessing extremely poor air quality because of the wildfires that have started since September. The wildfires have resulted in the death of 28 people since September and has destroyed more than 2,600 homes and razed more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres), mostly in New South Wales state.
On Tuesday, the qualifying time was delayed by two hours in the hope that the smoke from the bushfires would clear. The tournament organizers have said that the safety of players is the top priority and that they will be coordinating with respective agencies and monitor the conditions. Later, they added that they were monitoring the situation and that decisions will be made after consultations with the medical team and the weather scientists.