The scorching heat down under temporarily brought play to a halt on the fourth day of the Australian Open today. That’s noteworthy because it’s the first time that’s happened in half a decade, but more so because the same officials opted against such a delay earlier this week when this happened, via the UPI:
Before passing out during his match at the Australian Open against France’s Benoit Paire, Canadian tennis player Frank Dancevic claims that he saw Snoopy from Peanuts. Dancevic was unconscious for about a minute before coming back and losing the match in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. …
“I was dizzy from the middle of the first set and then I saw Snoopy and I thought, ‘Wow Snoopy, that’s weird,’” Dancevic said. “I couldn’t keep my balance anymore and I leaned over the fence and when I woke up people were all around me.”
The heat wave that’s making things brutally uncomfortable for players, fans and just about everyone else in Melbourne began on Tuesday (the day of Dancevic’s Snoopy sighting) when the temperature peaked at 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Tennis officials didn’t suspend play that day because the so-called Extreme Heat Policy also takes into account a variety of other factors, things like humidity and wind speed. But today, with the temperature creeping up to 109 degrees and players increasingly voicing their frustrations, officials finally decided to suspend play on all uncovered courts and close the retractable roofs over the main ones that were lucky enough to have them.
The tournament’s medical officials, however, have shown remarkably little sympathy for the players. “We evolved on the high plains of Africa chasing antelope for eight hours under these conditions,” Dr. Tim Wood, the chief medical officer, said today. “There will be some players who complain and no-one is saying it is terribly comfortable to play out there, but, from a medical perspective, we know that man is well adapted to exercising in the heat. Whether it is humane or not is a whole other issue.”