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Aus Open officials to fix heat rule loophole

A loophole in the tournament's extreme heat rules stops the roof on the main stadia being closed once a match has started.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 11:34 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Australian Open organisers will consider changing a loophole in the tournament's extreme heat rules that stops the roof on the main stadia being closed once a match has started.

The rule meant Dutch teenager Michaella Krajicek had to battle on in 43 Celsius temperatures during a centre court match last Saturday before eventually withdrawing with heat exhaustion.

Play on all outside courts had been halted and subsequent matches on centre court were played with the retractible roof closed.

Australian Open chief executive Paul McNamee said players had previously resisted allowing the roof to be closed mid-match because it would alter playing conditions.

But he said they appeared to be softening their opposition after three days of extreme weather and the rule would be reviewed after Sunday's men's final.

"When we brought the extreme heat rule in, the players were adamant that you could not change the conditions of the match," McNamee told The Australian newspaper. "Once it starts, it should stay outdoors unless rain comes.

"That also means you don't don't stop a match in the middle. If someone has superior fitness, they don't want you to stop the match.

"The players were very strong on that. But I think there is a slight hint that the players are more open to it now then they used to be. I really think the door is slightly open now."

The extreme heat policy takes effect at 35 Celsius, although the sun bouncing off Melbourne Park's rubberised Rebound Ace surface means the on-court temperature is sometimes closer to 50 Celsius.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 11:34 IST