Anger grows over smoke haze play at Australian Open


Britain's Liam Broady Thursday lashed out at Australian Open 

officials for insisting qualifying take place this week despite toxic smoke from bushfires, telling fellow players: "We can't let 

this go."

Air quality in Melbourne was among the worst on the planet on Tuesday and described as "hazardous" by city authori

ties following months of 

blazes that have devastated huge swathes of the country, AFP reports. It was recommended that people and their pets stay indoors, but qualifying for the opening Grand Slam of the year went ahead regardless.

Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic was forced to retire while leading in her match after a distre

ssing coughing fit, saying she was "really scared that I would collapse".

Other qualifiers also suffered, with world number 234 Broady taking to Twitter to claim "multiple" players needed asthma medication, despite never 

having suffered from the ailment before."The more I think about the conditions we played in a few days ago the more it boils my blood," Broady wrote.

He called an email from governing body the ATP and the Australian Open defending the decision to go ahead with qualifying matches "a slap in the face."

"We can't let this slide. The email we received yesterday ... was a slap in the face, conditions were 'playable'. Were they 'healthy'?" he said.

"Citizens of Melbourne were warned to keep their animals indoors the day I played qualifying, and yet we were expected to go outside for high intensity physical competition?

"What do we have to do to create a players union? Where is the protection for players, both male and female?"

German player Dustin Brown, knocked out by top seed Dennis Novak in qualifying on Wednesday when conditions were better but still poor, appeared to agree with Broady in a social media reply to him.

"In 35 Years, Its The 1st Time I Had 2 Use An Asthma Spray 2 Help Me Breathe Better," 

he wrote.