91% of qualifying matches at the Australian Open have been completed but organisers finally release an “Air Quality Policy”

It took until 204 of the 224 qualifying matches had been completed, some in “very unhealthy” conditions down at Melbourne Park and also recent pressure from Victoria’s chief health officer who has said “Tennis Australia needs to work up an air quality policy”.

They have!!

Better late than never I suppose but it is now out there!

Unfortunately it isn’t available online yet but it has done the rounds on social media which you can see below…

Looking at data they have come up with their own air quality rating and set a scale to follow. The air quality rating is based on particulate matter rating (PM2.5) which is the lowest reading per area to give an accurate number. The grading for air quality is:

Air Quality Rating of 1 – Good playing conditions – Less than 27 on PM2.5 air quality index

Air Quality Rating of 2 – Moderate playing conditions – 27-62 PM2.5 air quality 

Air Quality Rating of 3 – Air may affect sensitive groups – 62-97 PM2.5 air quality

Air Quality Rating of 4 – Conditions being closely monitored, match play may be suspended – 97-200 PM2.5 air quality

Air Quality Rating of 5 – Match play will be suspended – 200+ PM2.5 air quality

Pretty straight forward, but where was it on Monday?

Putting it out now is great but where was it when qualifying began?
Where was it when readings were above 200?
Where was the information for players?
Why was play continuing when players were struggling?

There is an air policy on the Tennis Australia site but it is more vague than this where there are proper details now.

There are a couple of points which are a little bit odd when it comes to suspension of play…

“Any matches in progress on outdoor courts at the time the Air Quality Rating reaches 5 will continue until the end of an even number of games in that set (or completion of a tie-break, if applicable). At the completion of the even number of games in that set (or completion of the tiebreak, if applicable), match play will be suspended.”

So, for example. The air quality isn’t great the reading is at 221 but we need you to continue to get to an even number of games in a set and potentially finish your tiebreak. Priority surely has to be to stop play there and then?

Also, it is down to the referee. This is why I can see a players union potentially coming soon because choice is out of their hands again. Just remember looking at the rating that Australian Open have set, Air quality rating of 3 says air may affect sensitive groups.. well what if that effects a player on court but it isn’t in the rating to consider suspending play.

Two days saw the reading outside 120 which is rating of four but one day saw it outside 200 which as per the now released air quality policy means play should have been suspended and that was the 14th of Jan when play continued…

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