sport news Australian Open slammed as Dalila Jakupovic is forced to quit after collapsing ...

The Australian Open came under heavy criticism today after obliging players to take to the court amid a combination of poor air quality and stifling heat.

Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic collapsed and had to abandon her match when she could take no more, despite being close to victory as the first round of the qualifying event got underway.

She described herself as 'sad and angry' after recovering later on, and admitted she was 'scared' at her struggles to breathe towards the end of a match she forfeited after winning the first set. 

Dalila Jakupovic was in tears on the floor after being unable to continue at the Australian Open

Dalila Jakupovic was in tears on the floor after being unable to continue at the Australian Open 

The Slovenian was leading her qualifying match before struggling with the poor air quality

The Slovenian was leading her qualifying match before struggling with the poor air quality 

With the wind blowing in from bushfires to the east, she had taken an inhaler onto the court to help her, but it was to no avail.

Britain's Liam Broady also struggled with the conditions as he went down to defeat. Canada's Eugenie Bouchard was another who found it difficult to play, although she battled through.

The opening day's play went ahead after a one hour delay despite ordinary locals being officially advised to stay indoors as much as possible and horse racing meetings being called off at the nearby course of Werribee. Many construction workers in the city were advised to down tools for the day.

Air quality likely to be an ongoing issue at the Australian Open with no end to the fires in sight

Air quality likely to be an ongoing issue at the Australian Open with no end to the fires in sight

Maria Sharapova and Germany's Laura Siegmund also abandoned their match in the second set at the nearby exhibition tournament in Kooyong due to conditions.

Tennis Australia insisted that its on-site experts had declared the playing environment at Melbourne Park safe enough, and that it had liaised with representatives of both the men's and women's tours.

Jakupovic was unimpressed, saying: 'It was really bad. I never experienced something like this and I was really scared. I was scared that I would collapse. That's why I went on the floor. Because I couldn't walk any more. I've never had asthma before.

'I think it was not fair because it's not healthy for us. I was surprised. I thought we would not be playing today. We don't have much choice. If we don't go on the court, maybe we get fined. It would maybe have been better to wait to see if tomorrow is better. They still have

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