Rising British star Jay Clarke confirmed there had been talks about playing the Australian Open qualifying matches indoors at the National Tennis Centre as the poor air quality caused by bushfires continues to be a big problem in Melbourne.
Tennis Australia and its officials faced lots of criticism from players after the opening day of the qualifying event as several players required a medical intervention on the court after struggling with breathing. Clarke, ranked at No.
154 in the world, visited the National Tennis Centre on Tuesday morning, before he was beaten in the qualifying first round by Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 7-6 (2) 3-6 6-2. According to the 21-year-old Briton, moving qualifying -- or even main draw matches to the National Tennis Centre -- isn't the solution for the smoke issue.
"There was talk of it [qualifying] moving indoors but we actually went over to the NTC [at 11am] and it was worse. They have got permanent vents open so when it [the smoke] got in it wasn't able to get out, so no players were practicing indoors," Clarke said, per Simon Briggs of The Telegraph UK.