The Australian Open is currently underway in Melbourne, where the air quality has been deemed “worst in the world” due to the raging Australian bushfires that continue to burn.
The air quality led to Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic to forfeit her match against Stefanie Voegele when she began coughing, ultimately collapsing on the ground, reports NBC News.
Several players have complained about the air quality, with many questioning whether the annual tennis competition should still be going on under the circumstances.
“I was really scared that I would collapse,” Jakupovic told the Associated Press, reports NBC News. “I never had breathing problems. I actually like heat. But… I just couldn’t breathe anymore and I just fell on the floor.”
She also opined that it was “not fair” that she’d been asked to play given the air quality.
In a statement, organizers of the Australian Open said it will utilize onsite data and engage in consultations with its medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology, and scientists from the state’s Environment Protection Authority in order to make any further decisions about matches.
“As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority,” the statement said.
According to NBC News, practice was temporarily suspended on Tuesday morning due to the poor air quality but the qualifying matches ultimately went ahead.