Player collapses with coughing fit at Australian Open

Morning commuters are seen through smoke haze from bushfires in Melbourne Australia

Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic was leading her round one Open qualifying match against Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing fit on Tuesday afternoon. I actually like heat.

Australian Open officials had previously halted practice sessions and qualifying matchups due to the air quality in Melbourne, which has been hovering between "hazardous" and "very unhealthy" levels ever since the blanket of smoke settled across the city last night.

Ranked world number 180, Jakupovic was a set up and one point away from a tiebreak in the second set when she suffered the breathing difficulties and subsequently withdrew from the match. But the points were a bit longer and I just couldn't breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor.

"The physio came again and I thought it would be better".

However, Jakupovic said it was "not fair" that officials asked players to take the court in those conditions.

"It's not healthy for us".

Organisers said further decisions on match scheduling would be made using onsite data and in close consultation with its medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology, and scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency in Victoria state. "I was surprised, I thought we would not be playing today but we don't have much choice".


The entire state was choking under a blanket of bushfire smoke, including Geelong town, the Latrobe Valley, Central Victoria, Gippsland and the North Central regions, considered to have "hazardous" air quality at 7 am (local time).

"Conditions onsite are improving and are being constantly monitored", a Tennis Australia statement read.

Twenty-two Australians are taking part in Open qualifying, including former world No.17 Bernard Tomic.

"This is a new experience for all of us in how we manage air quality so we have to listen to the experts", Mr Tiley said.

Racing Victoria (RV), the state's governing body for thoroughbred racing, chose to scrap a meeting in Melbourne's western suburbs as the smoke haze made conditions unsuitable for racing.

Any smoke hazards will be treated in a similar way to extreme heat and rain, with umpires able to stop play if it is considered too unsafe to continue.

"The health of players, fans and staff is a priority at all times and we will continue to make these decisions with that in mind".

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