The tennis player who collapsed at the Australian Open due to smoke from nearby bushfires says players are 'pissed' at the organizers for not taking 'better care' of them
- A Slovenian tennis star who was forced to retire at the Australian Open after collapsing due to smoke from the nearby bushfires has hit out at the tournament's organizers.
- Dalila Jakupovic suffered a coughing fit late into her qualifying match on Tuesday against Stefanie Vogele, and was subsequently unable to continue.
- "[Organizers] said that they checked and that the air was fine," Jakupovic told CNN. "We are all pissed and a bit disappointed because we thought they would take better care of us."
- Eugenie Bouchard, Liam Broady, and Bernard Tomic have also all suffered breathing-related issues during qualifying matches, however the tournament's director insists player safety remains a top priority.
- "The health and well-being of not only the players but the fans and our staff is of utmost importance," he said, according to The New York Times.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A Slovenian tennis star who was forced to retire at the Australian Open after collapsing due to smoke from the nearby bushfires has hit out at the tournament's organizers for not taking "better care" of its players.
Dalila Jakupovic was leading Stefanie Vogele 6-4, 5-6 in her first round qualifying match on Tuesday when she suffered a coughing fit, causing her to double over.
Jakupovic's team quickly came to her aide. However, the 28-year-old, who had already been given a breathing apparatus by a physio in the first set, was unable to continue.
"[Organizers] said that they checked and that the air was fine," Jakupovic told CNN after the match.
"Obviously this is not pollution it's smoke so it's a bit different to what we are used to. We play in China, we play in other countries and cities that are polluted but this is smoke, it's something that none of us have experienced before."
"We are all pissed and a bit disappointed because we thought they would take better care of us," she added.
Jakupovic is not the only player to have suffered problems caused by the smoke at The Open.
2014 Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard said she had chest pains that felt like "spikes in her lungs" during her victory over You Xiaodi on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
Britain's Liam Broady also told The Daily Mail he was "gasping for air" throughout his tie with Ilya Ivashka, whilst Australia's Bernard Tomic sought medical assistance for breathing difficulties.
Despite numerous players suffering issues related to the air quality, the tournament's director, Craig Tiley, insists the health of players and spectators remains a top priority, and that extensive testing is ongoing to ensure it is safe to play.
"The health and well-being of not only the players but the fans and our staff is of utmost importance," Tiley said, according to The New York Times.
"The long-term forecast and even the short-term forecast is good, and we'll just take it a day at a time."
The Open did not immediately reply to Business Insider's request for comment.
At least 28 people and half a billion animals have died in the bushfires across the country since July 1, while an estimated 14 million acres of land has also been scorched.