AO Press Release, January 19, 2018
The cool change has arrived at Melbourne Park with the current temperature (at 5:38pm) at Melbourne Park sitting at 28.2 degrees with a Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) reading of 26.7.
The expected top temperature in Melbourne today was 42 degrees, with an expected cool change in the afternoon.
The temperature peaked on site at Melbourne Park, hitting 40.2 degrees around 2:00pm, with a WGBT reading of 31.1.
“As you can see from our temperature and WBGT tracking (document attached)we did come close to implementing the Extreme Heat Policy today,” Australian Open referee Wayne McKewen said.
“Although we did reach the 40.2 degree mark at 2.25 pm, the WBGT reading was 31.1. We had our weather experts from the Bureau of Meteorology regularly providing updates on the temperature and the timing of the forecast cool change. We were fully prepared to stop play once the WBGT climbed to 32.5, but the temperature dropped 4.9 degrees within 26 minutes when the cool change began as predicted.”
“Protecting our players and the fairness of the competition is paramount in these conditions, which we acknowledge can be challenging,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“The players compete in hot conditions around the world, although the Australian Open is one of the very few tournaments worldwide that has policies to deal with extreme heat and have implemented these in the past when conditions exceeded the threshold.
“We work closely with our medical team to ensure players are educated on best practice in terms of preparing for the conditions, and as we know many of them come to Australia early so they can acclimatise.
“I’ve said before that many of the players train hard for these conditions, and expect to be able to play. Their preparation is admirable, and although many have found the past couple of days challenging, they’ve worked hard to compete at this level.
“The conditions of play are established prior to the event, and this includes the Extreme Heat Policy. We start the event with this set of rules and policies in place, and in the interest of fairness, can’t change them halfway through.
“Of course we all understand that to compete in these conditions is not easy. It’s also challenging for our team, particularly those working out on court, including the ballkids and officials.
“We do everything we can to help ease everyone’s discomfort in these conditions.
“At the end of every Australian Open we always review our policies and procedures and consult with all stakeholders. The EHP is no exception and we will again consult with the playing group on it,” Tiley said.