Bush Fires Near Sydney May Affect ATP Cup

Sydney bush fires in 2013 (photo: Andrea Schaffer/flickr)

SYDNEY, December 31, 2019

With almost 100 bush fires still burning across New South Wales, the smoke may have an impact on the inaugural ATP Cup, which will be kicking off the new season on the ATP Tour on Friday. Australia has been battling for several weeks with the resultant thick smoke regularly casting a pall over the cities Down Under. The haze has resulted in dangerous air pollution levels and now threatens the warm-up event for the 2020 Australian Open.

Sydney, alongside Perth and Brisbane one of the three sites where the ATP Cup will be held, is among the most affected.

“We have got medical experts on site during the tournament who will be advising in relation to conditions and ensuring that it is safe for players to play and also safe for our fans and our ball boys and staff,” ATP Cup Sydney tournament director Tom Larner told the Sydney Morning Herald and added that if the going gets tough, matches will be rescheduled.

“We would suspend play, like a rain delay, then reschedule for later in the day, we would take into account the variables,” Larner said, quoted by The Australian. “We will consider incoming weather, wind changes, rain and the onsite medical experts will be making that decision on the day.”

World No. 20 Grigor Dimitrov, who will be leading team Bulgaria in the ATP Cup in Sydney, said that while the smoke was a concern it was something he could not control.

“If it’s not healthy, it’s not healthy,” he said. “It’s the passion that drives us through moments like that.”

On Monday, organizers unveiled the upgrade to Ken Rosewall Arena at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, which includes the transformation of the stadium into a multipurpose outdoor covered arena with upsized in-stadia videoboards, new seating and an all-weather canopy roof.