Aussie Open explains new air policy

(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) As wildfires continue to burn in parts of Australia, the country's Grand Slam tournament explained its recently developed air quality policy, saying it was based on a scientific analysis of something called "fine particulate matter rating" -- but also giving the tournament referee the right to start or stop matches "at his or her absolute discretion."

Australian Open organizers released the policy Friday, three days before the beginning of main-draw action, following complaints from some players who questioned whether qualifying matches should have been held this week even though Melbourne's air quality was among the worst in the world because of smoke arriving from fires about 100 miles east of the city.

On Tuesday, one player collapsed to her knees while coughing heavily; another sought medical attention because he was having trouble breathing.

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