CROATIAN tennis star Ivan Dodig complained that he felt he might die unless he retired from his Australian Open second-round match yesterday, as tournament chiefs faced further criticism.
The 32nd seed quit his clash with Bosnian Damir Dumzhur in the fourth set, becoming the 10th player to pull out in Melbourne, where temperatures exceeded 40C for a second consecutive day.
“I was thinking I could maybe even die here,” said Dodig. “It’s not acceptable to play in these conditions. Thirty minutes after the match, I could not walk.”
His warning followed similar claims on Tuesday, when Canadian Frank Dancevic called conditions “inhumane” after fainting during his first-round defeat.
Organisers have refused to implement an extreme heat policy, which enforces breaks and causes the two main courts to close their roofs and activate air conditioning, despite repeated incidents.
Defending champion Serena Williams yesterday complained that the heatwave, set to peak today, had affected her sleep. “I kept waking up in the middle of the night paranoid,” said the 17-time grand slam winner. “I just wanted to stay hydrated.”
Britain’s Andy Murray plays his second-round match – in cooler, evening conditions – against Frenchman Vincent Millot at around 9:30am today British time.