Throughout open qualifying at the Australian Open in Melbourne, a number of players have had problems during matches due to the air quality affected by the bushfires.
Dalila Jakupovic retired from her match against Stefanie Voegele on Tuesday after suffering a coughing fit in what was an awful scene to watch.
Amid the devastating fires in Australia, one tennis player is calling for two of the game’s best, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to step up and protest about the playing conditions during qualifying and leading into the tournament.
Brayden Schnur, a Candian qualifier and No. 103 player in the world, even went as far as to call Nadal and Federer selfish by not stepping to the plate and protesting.
“It’s got to come from the top guys — Roger and Rafa are a little bit selfish in thinking about themselves and their careers,” Schnur told AP. “Because they’re near the end and all they’re thinking about is their legacy and they’re not thinking about the sport itself and trying to do what’s good for the sport. So those guys need to step up.”
Schnur described how tough it was during his qualifying matches describing the feeling like smoking a cigarette.
“You feel super dryness in your throat, that’s 100% not normal and players who have asthma are at a huge disadvantage right now.”
Schnur’s comments come after the fact that Nadal announced at a charity event at the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday that he and Federer would be donating $172,000 toward the bushfire relief efforts, according to Forbes.
The Australian Open gets underway on Monday.