Players criticise sweltering conditions at Australian Open as temp hovers at 40 degrees

Some weary players sat shirtless on changeovers, ice-filled towels draped around their necks. Others retreated to any bit of shade they could find on court and sought treatment for blistered feet and heat stress.

Temperatures soared to 40 degrees as the start of an expected heat wave hit the Australian Open on Thursday, bringing misery to players unfortunate enough to have their matches scheduled during the day session and keeping many spectators away.

"I didn't expect to play this kind of match," a thoroughly exhausted Juan Martin del Potro said after beating Karen Khachanov in a nearly four-hour, second-round match.

The ASB Classic tournament second seed took time out to sign autographs and pose for photos. Source: 1 NEWS

"I prefer to watch on TV. Or stay on the beach, drinking some beer."

Scorching temperatures are common at the Australian Open — so much so the tournament has an extreme heat policy that allows for the referee to close the roofs on the three main show courts and suspend play on the outer courts when temperatures surpass 40 Celsius.

Gael Monfils staggered through a good portion of his second-round match against Novak Djokovic, bending over repeatedly to catch his breath between points and at one stage returning to the comfort of his shaded chair without even attempting to return Djokovic's serve.

Afterwards, he called the conditions "risky" for the players, especially with the new rule restricting the time between points to 25 seconds.

"I get super dizzy. I think I have a small heat stroke for 40 minutes," said Monfils, who is considered one of the fittest players on tour.

"At that time, the officials have to make a move. Maybe wait a little bit, whatever, five minutes between the set. Maybe they have to do small adjustment."

Djokovic agreed, describing the conditions "brutal" and some of the toughest he's ever played in.

"There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognise that you might need to give players few extra hours until (the temperature) comes down," he said.

"I understand there is a factor of tickets. If you don't play matches, people will be unhappy."

But he said the conditions were at the point where it becomes a "danger in terms of health."


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Serena was wrong: New report disproves Williams' 'sexism' claims made during - and after - US Open final meltdown

Serena Williams' claims of sexism from tennis officials have been debunked in spectacular fashion, with an investigation from the New York Times finding that men are hit with nearly three times the amount of conduct violations as their female counterparts.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in last week's US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

In a fiery on court scene, Williams protested that she was a victim of sexism, telling tournament referee Brian Earley, "there are men out here who do a lot worse than me, but because I'm a woman you are going to take this away from me?

"That is not right."

However, the New York Times report finds Williams' claims are well wide of the mark.

In the 20-year period between 1998 and 2018, men have accrued 1,517 separate code violations, while women feature incurred 535.

The only real exception comes in terms of players being cited for coaching, with women being given violations 152 times, compared to men's 87.

Williams' first code violation was for coaching, before also notching up citations for racket abuse, and verbal abuse, calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief".

As a result of her outburst, Williams was slapped with a fine of NZ $25,700. 

She claimed over $2m in prize money for being the runner-up.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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'I just don't understand' - Serena Williams doubles down on claims of sexism in US Open final

Serena Williams is holding her ground on claims of sexism against chair umpire Carlos Ramos, following her explosive outburst at last week's US Open final defeat.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in her loss in the US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

She would later add that the incident was sexist, and that male players are able to get away with worse on-court infringements.

Appearing on Australia's The Project, Williams spoke publicly for the first time about the ordeal.

"I just don't understand … if you're a female you should be able to do even half of what a guy can do," Williams said. 

Williams also hit back at Ramos' claims that she'd received coaching from trainer Patrick Mouratoglou - which he'd admitted to - denying her own involvement.

"He said he made a motion."

"I don't understand what he was talking about. We've never had signals."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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Umpire Carlos Ramos back to work after Serena Williams' US Open final outburst

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final is back at work.

Carlos Ramos is working the best-of-five Davis Cup semifinal series between Croatia and the United States.

"I'm just focusing on this tie and working again. That's all I can say," Ramos told The Associated Press.

Ramos officiated the second singles match between Marin Cilic and Frances Tiafoe, which was completed without incident.

Ramos calmed the raucous crowd on several occasions and came down from his chair to check a few ball marks in the clay but otherwise had no impact on the match, which Cilic won in straight sets to give Croatia a 2-0 lead.

"It was great. There were even a few calls where he came to check. Everything was really good," Cilic said. "The atmosphere was also great. I enjoyed every single second of the match."

Tiafoe, who was making his Davis Cup debut, also didn't have any complaints.

"I didn't know Ramos was sitting in the chair. I really wasn't paying attention," Tiafoe said. "I was more worried about the person across the net than the official."

US captain Jim Courier added: "We thought the officiating was excellent all day long."

Ramos gave Williams three code violations in her straight-set loss to Naomi Osaka last weekend, and the American great argued she wasn't being treated the same as some male players.

USTA president and CEO Katrina Adams, who defended Williams, was overheard apologising to Ramos on the sidelines of Thursday's draw ceremony.

Ramos wouldn't go into details over his discussion with Adams, who initiated the conversation.

"You know I cannot talk about that," Ramos said.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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US Open umpire Carlos Ramos breaks silence over Serena Williams controversy

The chair umpire who penalised Serena Williams in the US Open final has spoken publicly for the first time since the match, saying he is "fine."

Ramos, who is from Portugal, spoke briefly to Portuguese newspaper Tribuna Expresso this week.

"I'm fine, given the circumstances," Ramos said, according to the newspaper. "It's a delicate situation, but umpiring 'a la carte' doesn't exist. Don't worry about me."

The newspaper said Ramos received hundreds of messages of support from family, colleagues, players and former players.

He said he has avoided social media and only reads "balanced" articles about the incident. He also refrained from going out the day after the final to avoid problems, according to the report.

The International Tennis Federation has defended Ramos for his actions during the final. The US Open fined Williams for her three code violations.

The WTA later called for equal treatment of all tennis players and coaching to be allowed across the sport.

Ramos has been assigned to officiate the Davis Cup semifinal matches between the United States and Croatia, a best-of-five series which begins Friday and ends Sunday in Zadar, Croatia.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty


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