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Agassi slams players over heat

Former tennis tough guy Andre Agassi has lashed out at player complaints about the searing heat at the Australian Open.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2007 19:30 IST

Former tennis tough guy Andre Agassi has lashed out at player complaints about the searing heat at the Australian Open.

The retired four-time Melbourne champion says that players are responsible for their own fitness and endurance.

"It is about being fit and being prepared, and tennis brings both of those things together, and that needs to be respected and appreciated," Agassi told US television.

"This is a sport, it's about handling the elements the best. It is not about playing great. We train for this. (If you are not prepared), too bad."

Some players have been calling for a revision of the heat rule, where temperatures and humidity over 35 Celsius generally mean that now more matches will not be started until things cool down.

On Tuesday, that meant a delay of seven hours while play was continuing only under the closed roof of two show courts at the Melbourne Park.

Players including Maria Sharapova and James Blake have charged that the rule prohibiting closing the moveable roofs until the conclusion of the match that is in progress is unfair on players on the court.

Sharapova said she was "delusional" from the heat on the way to a struggling first-round win, which took three hours on the sweltering day.

Women's WTA Tour boss Larry Scott has joined the campaign for a modification of the rule, the only one in existence at a Grand Slam due to Melbourne's extreme conditions.