Extreme heat at the Australian Open is marring play and has some players questioning the safety of the matches

  • Temperatures at the Australian Open have been well above 100 degrees Farenheit during some matches.
  • Notable players like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Juan Martin del Potro have all questioned the safety of playing in the heat.
  • Tournament organizers have a tough call to make between delaying games and not giving advantages to some players.


Some of the tennis best players in the world have questioned the safety of playing matches in the intense heat of Melbourne, Australia, at the Australian Open.

While Novak Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils on Thursday, the on-court temperature was 104 degrees Farenheit, according to ESPN's Jerry Bembry. And that was at 5:30pm on a hard court that could make it feel even hotter.

After beating Monfils in a sloppy, four-set slug-fest, Djokovic said tournament supervisors should have delayed the match.

"There are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognize that you need to give players a few extra hours until [temperatures] come down," Djokovic said. "I understand there is a factor of tickets. But there is a limit of being fit to play and being, I think, in danger to your health."

The heat seemed to affect both players' execution, as Monfils had 60 unforced errors to Djokovic's 40.

Monfils said he may have had a heat stroke on the court.

"I got super dizzy ... I think I had a small heat stroke for 40 minutes."

Monfils also argued with the chair official that he should scrap that rule that requires players to serve within 25 seconds. Both Djokovic and Monfils were dragging in between points throughout the match.

Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets, also said it was too hot to play.

"It was really difficult to play," del Potro said. "The temperature was too high for playing tennis. Also, if you saw the crowds, nobody was there watching under the sun."

Rafael Nadal also weighed in: "I think it is a health issue. I like to, sometimes, play in heat. When it is too much, it becomes dangerous for our health. If the courts have roofs, why not put the roof on when the conditions are extreme?"

Indeed, fans seemed to vacate sunny seats:

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Fans at the Australian Open
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Fans at the Australian Open
Fans watch the men's singles second round match between Austria's Dominic Thiem and Denis Kudla of the US on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul Crock / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: Fans cool down in front of a misting fan on day three of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: Misting fans keep fans cool in the hot summer sunshine on day three of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Fans wait for the start of the men's singles first round match between Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych and Australia's Alex De Minaur on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: Fans cool down in front of a misting fan on day two of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: Spectators watch the second round match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Gael Monfils of France on day four of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: Spectators watch the second round match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Gael Monfils of France in hot weather on day four of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: Spectators congregate in the shade in Garden Square to avoid the hot weather on day four of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: A lone shirtless spectator in Garden Square enjoys the hot weather on day four of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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According to Bembry, Friday's temperatures are supposed to be even higher, putting tournament officials in a tough spot of weighing player safety while trying not to give any players a specific 

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