Australian Open introduces heat stress scale
The year's first grand slam tournament, the Australian Open has witnessed increased temperature levels during the last few years. Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils were critical of the tournament organisers last year after being made to play in extreme heat without a break.
Reacting compassionately to the players' concerns, 2019 will see a more extensive Extreme Heat Policy (EHP) being introduced after a lot of research and testing.
The policy has been introduced by Tennis Australia after research was conducted by the medical personnel at the University of Sydney. Official confirmation of Australian Open Heat Stress Scale (AO HSS) was announced earlier today:
The tournament director, Craig Tiley, said the Grand Slam was constantly looking for ways to improve the playing conditions:
"The well-being of all players at the Australian Open is our utmost priority. The AO Heat Stress Scale ranges from one to five with specific recommendations associated with each step of the scale – one denoting temperate playing conditions and five the suspension of play. Under the updated policy, 10-minute breaks can also be introduced into men’s singles matches for the first time."
According to the Australian Open website release, Tennis Australia Chief Medical Officer Dr Carolyn Broderick has explained the more extensive heat policy. The scale also takes into account the four climate factors – air temperature, radiant heat or the strength of the sun, humidity and wind speed. These four factors will be accurately measured in real time at five different locations across the Park.
For the first time, in the men's singles, a 10-minute break will be allowed after the third set when a four (4.0) is recorded on the AO HSS prior to or during the first three sets of the match, which has become a necessity with the increased severity of the Australian summers.
The Australian Open is scheduled to get underway in Melbourne on January 14, 2019.