Play should have been called off at the Australian Open yesterday due to oppressive heat, according to tennis and fitness trainer Brett Stephens.
The on-court temperature at Rod Laver Arena reached 69 degrees during the Gael Monfils v Novak Djokobic match yesterday, with the ambient heat climbing to 39.9 degrees.
The heat visibly influenced Monfils, who bowed out of the year’s first Grand Slam in four sets.
Stephens, a former Fitzroy player, who has since moved into the tennis scene training the likes of Pete Sampras, Mark Philippoussis and Cara Black, believes professional athletes aren’t built to withstand the conditions that hit Melbourne Park yesterday.
“When it gets this hot, it doesn’t matter what shape you’re in, there’s no way you can handle it,” he told SEN Breakfast.
“The human body is not designed to handle that.
“You can prepare and get yourself in the best shape you possibly can, and a big part of being mentally strong is being physically strong, but I don’t think you can prepare for heat at 40 degrees.
“It comes down to the DNA of a person of how much they can handle.”
Players are going to have to deal with similar circumstances today, as it’s expected to hit over 40 degrees throughout the afternoon.
There are numerous triggers that must be activated for organisers to call matches off, but Stephens reckons a layer of common sense must be implemented.
“I’m big on survival of the fittest, there’s no doubt about it, but when it gets to that stage, they’re going to have to look to call matches off,” he said.
Monfils voiced his displeasure after the defeat, declaring he was “dying on the court for 40 minutes.”
Did you miss Brett Stephens’ chat on SEN Breakfast? Take a listen in the player below!