Djokovic blasts Australian Open officials over 'brutal' conditions

Djokovic blasts Australian Open officials over 'brutal' conditions

The Australian Open has an extreme heat rule, but it is enforced only if humidity is high as well as the temperature.

Novak Djokovic continued his flawless record against Gael Monfils as the Frenchman wilted in the Melbourne heat at the Australian Open.

"Almost 40 degrees (Celsius) out there is too much for the health".

The pair put on an exciting display in their second-round match at Melbourne Park, Djokovic getting the better of his French opponent, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

Monfils said: "I train this winter in Miami".

"I think I had a small heat stroke for 40 minutes".

The heat peaked during Djokovic's 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win.

Muguruza did have to stop at one point to wrap her feet to prevent blistering from the hot court.

Monfils, who beat Jaume Munar in the opening round, has never beaten Djokovic in his career.

Speaking after his defeat, the world No. 39 said the conditions were some of the toughest he had ever played in, labeling them risky.

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"I think, you know, there are certain days where you just have to, as a tournament supervisor, recognize that you might need to give players few extra hours until it comes down". I was just hanging in there to keep every chance to progress. But he prevailed convincingly in the end largely because he handled the debilitating heat - nearly 40 degrees - far better than the Frenchman, who called a doctor after the second set but fought on bravely to complete what he said was the toughest match of his career, with the possible exception of another scorcher in Melbourne more years ago than he wanted to remember.

Djokovic got off to a shaky start by dropping the first set, but he was able to wear down Monfils over time in the brutal Australian heat.

"The referee will initiate the Extreme Heat Policy once the ambient temperature exceeds 40C & the Wet Bulb index (WBGT) exceeds 32.5C". That didn't happen Thursday.

Tournament officials defended their decision not to initate the heat policy, claiming player welfare is their utmost concern.

Monfils spared a thought for those in action Friday. He said: "Good luck to them. I think for everybody.it would be really good to close the (roof) covers".

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, had issues with the heat but still advanced along with No. 19 Tomas Berdych, No. 21 Albert Ramos and No. 5 Dominic Thiem, who rallied to beat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. The talented yet underachieving 31-year-old was unable to settle after beginning to seriously struggle midway through the second set, eventually falling in two hours, 45 minutes to the 12-time grand slam champion.

The Spaniard had a troubled preparation for the tournament, retiring with cramps in the second round at the Brisbane International and withdrew before her quarterfinal at Sydney because of a right thigh injury.

Ninth-seeded Johanna Konta also struggled in a straight-set loss to lucky loser Bernarda Pera, an American who is ranked 123rd and making her Grand Slam debut.

Former champion Angelique Kerber celebrated her 30th birthday with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Donna Vekic to advance to the third round of the Australian Open and a match against Maria Sharapova.

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