The poor air quality which left players fighting for breath at Melbourne Park last week, and the extreme heat which disrupted the tournament in the past, will become the new norm if sports do not do more to address climate change, a report released on Monday said.
The Australian Open, the season’s first Grand Slam, starts later on Monday but the lead-up was blighted by smoke from bushfires that have raged across the country for months.
Slovenian Daria Jakupovic said she was “scared” after a coughing fit forced her out of qualifying on Tuesday while Canadian Denis Shapovalov said he would refuse to play this week if forced to compete when the air quality was poor.
The Monash University report, titled ‘Love 40, degrees’, said extreme heat and weather events would have a growing impact on sport in Australia.
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“This is not something that has happened,” James Goldie, the report’s co-author, told Reuters. “This is something that is happening. And it’s going to get worse.”
Goldie and co-author Stephanie Hall examined the effects of climate change on three high-profile sports events held in the Australian summer ― the Boxing Day cricket test in Melbourne, cycling’s Tour Down Under in South Australia, and the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam.
The reports all indicated that sports organisations should consider shifting their events to either November or March, or modifying their times to start earlier in the morning or compete later at night.
“It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing, there are multiple tracks of evidence that summer sports...