Sharapova calls for more clarity on ‘unplayable conditions’ after ‘heat-stricken’ Oz Open play

Sydney, Jan 17: Russian star Maria Sharapova has reportedly urged tennis officials to clear the confusion over what constitutes unplayable conditions after she was forced to play in temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius at the Australian Open.

The heat forced matches to be suspended during afternoon on Thursday after the tournament referee used his discretionary powers to stop play after the wet-bulb temperature reached a certain level and was forecast to remain there for at least an hour.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sharapova was left in a fight to the death in the third set against Italian Karin Knapp as the matches were suspended under policy guidelines at the end of the set in progress when the policy was invoked, prompting the world No.3 to call for players to be better informed.

Stating that there has been no way of getting around the fact that the conditions were extremely difficult for the last few days, Sharapova said that neither players nor the officials actually know when the roof of a stadium should be closed, adding that it depends on the weather during the tournament.

Sharapova insisted that she had no idea the extreme heat policy had been applied until after the match, adding that it seems a little strange that the WTA Tour trainers do not know what that threshold is.

Temperatures reached a high of 42.4 degrees during the match on Rod Laver Arena, and later peaked at 43.3 degrees at Melbourne Park and despite the policy being applied, Sharapova and Knapp were forced to continued for 50 minutes before the Russian claimed a 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 victory in three hours, 28 minutes, the report added. (ANI)