Maria Sharapova is due to play at the Kooyong Classic today. Picture: Getty
Maria Sharapova is due to play at the Kooyong Classic today. Picture: Getty

Melbourne smoke threatens Aus Open

Australian Open qualifying could be forced indoors today because of hazardous conditions as smoke haze envelopes Melbourne.

Officials will gauge conditions, using on-site monitoring, before deciding if it is safe to start any of the 64 scheduled matches outdoors from 10am this morning.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said the Australian Open would use world-leading advice in making judgments over air quality and player and spectator safety.

The Kooyong Classic could also be affected.

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Maria Sharapova is due to play at the Kooyong Classic today. Picture: Getty
Maria Sharapova is due to play at the Kooyong Classic today. Picture: Getty

 

Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova is due to play German Laura Siegemund at Kooyong from 1pm.

Three other matches are also scheduled at the former home of the Open.

Kooyong tournament director Peter Johnston said it is "game on, at this stage."

"We're monitoring the conditions," he said. "We plan to be playing at this stage."

Racing Victoria abandoned the Werribee meeting because of "smoke haze in the area and the hazardous air quality, which is unlikely to improve throughout the day making it unsuitable for racing."

 

 

Tennis Australia has the option of using its three premier courts - Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Melbourne Arena - with the roof closed in extreme conditions.

In a worse-case scenario, main draw matches could also be shifted from outside courts to the indoor facilities.


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