Canberra, Jan 3 (IANS) The raging bushfires across Australia have forced the Canberra International tennis tournament to be relocated as officials believe play would be unlikely in current conditions.
Organisers of the tennis tournament, an ATP Challenger 125 event due to begin on Monday, have taken the step due to ongoing bushfire activity near the nation’s capital. The tournament will now be played in Bendigo in Victoria state, some 600 kilometres away from the capital.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said his organisation had been receiving daily updates from the local experts and authorities.
“We know how important the tournament is for players preparing to play at the Australian Open and the decision to move the tournament from Canberra to Bendigo has been made to ensure they can still compete,” Tiley was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
“We will continue to monitor the situation across the country and ensure we have the most accurate information to make any decisions about play,” he added.
A global air quality index recently ranked Canberra’s air quality the worst of any major city in the world, as it reached more than 20 times hazardous levels on Wednesday.
“The health of players, fans, volunteers, staff and stakeholders is our biggest priority at all times,” said Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel.
“Unfortunately, the best advice from the weather and fire experts is that the conditions over the next few days mean it is unlikely there would be any play,” he added.