Dancevic slams 'inhumane' Melbourne conditions

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:24am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Canadian Frank Dancevic slammed Australian Open organizers for forcing players to compete in "inhumane" conditions after he collapsed on court as temperatures rose to 41 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.

Dancevic, who collapsed during the second set of his first round match against France's Benoit Paire on the uncovered court six at Melbourne Park and passed out for a minute, said conditions were plainly dangerous for the players.

"I think it's inhumane, I don't think it's fair to anybody, to the players, to the fans, to the sport, when you see players pulling out of matches, passing out," he told reporters.

"I've played five set matches all my life and being out there for a set and a half and passing out with heat-stroke, it's not normal.

"Having players with so many problems and complaining to the tournament that it's too hot to play, until somebody dies, they're just keep going on with it and putting matches on in this heat.

"I personally don't think it's fair and I know a lot of players don't think it's fair."

The tournament's "extreme heat" contingency plan was put into force for women's matches on Tuesday, allowing an extra 10-minute break between the second and third sets.

Under a change to the rules for this year, however, the decision on whether to stop matches at the tournament is now at the discretion of tournament director Wayne McKewen.   Continued...

Frank Dancevic of Canada hits a return to Benoit Paire of France during their men's singles match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone