The Australian Open has announced a new extreme heat policy which goes in effect when the tournament opens a week from Monday.
Instead of relying on the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index (WBGT), officials have created a new measure called the AO Heat Stress Scale (AO HSS) which takes into account air temperature, radiant heat, humidity and wind speed.
Developed by Tennis Australia medical personnel in conjunction with the Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory at the University of Sydney, the AO HSS will range from one to five, with five being the most critical.
Under the new policy, when the index reaches four:
* Men will now get a 10-minute break between third and fourth sets
* Women will continue to get their 10-minute after the second
When the index reaches five:
* Matches can be suspended on even games on all courts
* A decision will be made to close roofs
“The well-being of all players at the Australian Open is our utmost priority and we have developed the Australian Open Heat Stress Scale after months of research and testing,” said TD Craig Tiley.
“The AO Heat Stress Scale ranges from one to five with specific recommendations associated with each step of the scale – one denoting temperate playing conditions and five the suspension of play.”
According to the event, had this policy been in effect the last five years, no changes would have taken place in play and scheduling.
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