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'Dangerous' conditions come under fire at US Open

 

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Novak Djokovic coping with the extreme heat. Photo: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

Novak Djokovic coping with the extreme heat. Photo: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

Novak Djokovic coping with the extreme heat. Photo: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

How hot is too hot was the subject up for debate at the US Open after brutal conditions took their toll.

Four men were unable to complete their matches on Tuesday because of the effects of the heat and humidity, while Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic was also in trouble before recovering to beat Marton Fucsovics.

Stefano Travaglia complained he could not walk straight before he pulled the plug against Hubert Hurkacz. Leonardo Mayer and Ricardas Berankis also succumbed while veteran Mikhail Youzhny was consoled by opponent Marcos Baghdatis as he lay stricken on court with cramp.

The US Open took the unprecedented step of introducing a heat policy for the men, giving the option of a 10-minute break between the third and fourth sets of matches - the women can take a break between the second and third sets under WTA rules.

lucky But several players went further and claimed conditions - with temperatures in the mid-30s and in excess of 50 per cent humidity - were too extreme and that matches should not have been played at all.

Julien Benneteau, who defeated Marco Cecchinato, told French reporters: "With this heat and humidity, I think that they shouldn't play between noon and 4pm. They were lucky. They only had retirements."

Fucsovics was tied at one-set all and up a break on Djokovic when he also began to struggle with the heat, going on to lose 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-0.

He said: "It was fun to play in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the first time for me, first time against Djokovic, but it wasn't fun to play in the heat. I was dying after each point. It's too hot for tennis. It's dangerous."

Djokovic called for the doctor during the second set and asked for a bin to be placed next to his seat because he felt so nauseous.

He said: "It's understandable why players were complaining about it because only players know what they were experiencing today on the court.

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"It's quite tough. It's really sad to see. There's so much cramping going on. You don't want to see that."


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