Aussie bushfires worry Djokovic

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    SYDNEY. — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he is concerned that smoke might cause some problems at the Australian Open later this month as bushfires continued to blaze across large sections of the southeast on Sunday.

    Hundreds of fires in New South Wales and Victoria have killed at least 24 people and destroyed more than 5.25 million hectares (13 million acres) of land over the last few months.

    Smoke from the blazes has also resulted in hazardous conditions in Sydney, where the final rounds of the inaugural ATP Cup will take place next weekend, and Melbourne, where the year’s first tennis Grand Slam gets underway on Jan. 20.

    Seven-time Australian Open champion Djokovic, who is playing in the ATP Cup, said he hoped the crisis would “dissipate” soon but that an action plan would be needed to avoid any impact on the health of players if it did not.

    “If it continues same way and if the quality of air is affected in Melbourne or Sydney, I think Tennis Australia probably will be forced to create some rules about it,” he told a Brisbane news conference in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    “It’s tough for them because … there’s a lot of different things involved. But health concern is a health concern for me and for anybody.” – Reuters