Even Aussies can't stand British heatwave

Australian fans gesture towards Australia's Bernard Tomic as they sing during his men's singles second round match against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships in London, on July 1, 2015.
Australian fans gesture towards Australia's Bernard Tomic as they sing during his men's singles second round match against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships in London, on July 1, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Australian tennis officials mocked the British crowds on Wednesday at Wimbledon for struggling in the heatwave, but it was one of their own who came unstuck on court instead.

Amid hospital admissions and wilting spectators in the hottest July day ever recorded in London (36.9 deg C), world No. 26 Bernard Tomic called his trainer on court, complaining "it's been too hot".

He had been playing against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert and managed to win in a tight three sets: 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

After his victory, he said: "I was fatigued and starting to get dizzy out there with the heat hitting me.

"Hopefully I can get a good night's sleep. I just haven't been sleeping well. It's been too hot."

The Australian revealed that the All England Club's controversial heat rule - which allows only women to take a 10-minute break in extreme temperatures - is the talk of the male locker room.

He said: "It's a bit interesting how the women have a different rule applied to them with the heat. Is it fair or not? Who am I to say?"

Tomic's comments followed a series of mocking tweets sent from the Twitter account of the Australian Open.

One tweet, illustrated with pictures of women draped in Australian flags cooling themselves by water fans and in fountains, said: "Hey @Wimbledon want to borrow these? #londonheat #heatrule."

Wimbledon officials again reduced capacity from 39,500 to 38,000 on Wednesday to allow more space in the shade and easier access to water points.

Despite previously saying they would not close the centre court roof to protect players and spectators from the heat because it is "an outside tournament", they decided to close it to "protect the playing surface".

In comparison, the Australian Open has three retractable roofs which its organisers do close if it is too hot, and the inside is then air-conditioned.

After Andy Murray's victorious first match on Tuesday, in which the Scot said he was "glad to get off in three sets" because of the heat, his mother called for the heat rule to be introduced for men.

"I think the men should adopt it as well," Judy Murray said.

"You're certainly not brought up in the heat if you come from Scotland."

THE TIMES, LONDON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'Even Aussies can't stand British heatwave'. Print Edition | Subscribe