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Denis Shapovalov hits out at Australian Open amid air quality issues

:Headline: Denis Shapovalov hits out at Australian Open amid air quality issues: ID:386519: from db_amp
The 20-year-old is not a happy man.
PA | 1mo

Denis Shapovalov has accused the Australian Open of jeopardising players' health and said he would refuse to play in poor air quality.

A number of players were furious that qualifying matches on Tuesday were not postponed as smoke from the raging wildfires settled on Melbourne, with Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic retiring from her match after a coughing fit.

Tournament organisers have since explained their policy and the acceptable threshold they arrived at after consultation with environmental and medical experts, which was not exceeded on Tuesday.

Most top players have accepted that but not world number 13 Shapovalov, who said: "I wouldn't play.

Denis Shapovalov is not happy with the playing conditions in Melbourne (Steven Paston/PA)

"Obviously, it's a grand slam, it's a big opportunity, but I'm 20 years old. I don't want to risk my life, risk my health, being out there playing in these conditions when I can for the next 10, 15 years."

Shapovalov pulled no punches in his assessment of organisers' handling of the situation, saying of Jakupovic's collapse: "From that they should have learned that something has to be done and has to be changed.

"They shouldn't have even gone there. I don't know who needs to step up, but someone needs to take initiative and look after the players.

"You get warnings from the news telling people to stay inside, that it's not good for your health to be outside, to be breathing this stuff, and then you get an email from the tournament saying that it's playable and you guys have to go out there and put your life in jeopardy, put your health in jeopardy.

"You see the effects on players it has right now, the last couple of days, but you don't know what it's going to do later in our lives and how it could affect us if we're breathing this air in for two weeks."

Shapovalov believes moving the tournament to another city should have been considered, while he would support changing the men's singles from best-of-five-sets to best-of-three if the smoke returns to a significant degree.

“Obviously, it's a grand slam, it's a big opportunity, but I'm 20 years old. I don't want to risk my life, risk my health, being out there playing in these conditions when I can for the next 10, 15 years”
- Denis Shapovalov

He said: "As a player, it's kind of scary coming to the city, seeing how the players are collapsing, seeing fit players needing inhalers to play tennis.

"If it does get bad, honestly, I don't know what needs to be done. But there's got to be a solution, and this should have been thought about weeks before. This shouldn't be something that we have to be dealing with right now."

Speaking on Thursday, tournament director Craig Tiley said: "This is about trusting the medical advice and the scientific advice. We care deeply about the players."

Shapovalov is the 13th seed and he is due to play his opening match against Hungary's Marton Fucsovics on Monday.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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