It is fucking hot in Melbourne. Temperatures soared to 108 degrees today, weather unfit for human existence, let alone playing world-class tennis. A short compilation of bad things to happen to tennis players so far at the first Grand Slam event of the year:
- Frank Dancevic collapsed during the second set of his match, lying unconscious on the court for a full minute. Dancevic says he was hallucinating before he fainted, and thought he saw a certain cartoon Beagle: "I was dizzy from the middle of the first set and then I saw Snoopy and I thought, 'Wow Snoopy, that’s weird.'"
- Peng Shuai vomited, then cramped up, and had to be helped off the court.
- Yaroslava Shvedova had to be covered in ice towels between sets of her match.
- Caroline Wozniacki placed her water bottle on the ground, and the bottom of it melted.
- The soles of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's sneakers melted.
- Jelena Jankovic burned her bottom on a seat.
- This ball boy fainted.
It's carnage, and organizers don't seem willing to do much about it. Officials have the authority to halt play and to close the roofs on the center and second courts, but have declined to do so. The only measures taken so far include giving women an extra 10-minute break, and reducing ball boy shifts from an hour to 45 minutes.
That's not enough, say some of the competitors.
"I think it's inhumane, I don't think it's fair to anybody, to the players, to the fans, to the sport, when you see players pulling out of matches, passing out," Frank Dancevic said. "Having players with so many problems and complaining to the tournament that it's too hot to play, until somebody dies, they're just keep going on with it and putting matches on in this heat. I personally don't think it's fair and I know a lot of players don't think it's fair."
Things are only going to get worse. Australia is in the midst of a heat wave, and triple-digit temperatures are forecast in Melbourne for the next three days.
Via the AP and Getty Images, some more scenes from court, where, as John Isner put it, "it's like an oven when I open the oven and the potatoes are done":