It's going to be hot tomorrow, up to 40 degrees
Too hot to handle
Tuesday 13 January 2009
By Helen Gilbert
Melbourne Park was a blaze of glory as players warmed up for the qualifying event which starts tomorrow. But they refuse to feel the heat and are staying focussed on the task in hand.
Blazing sunshine and mercury that tipped 36 degrees did little to deter the qualifiers training ahead of the qualifying event at Melbourne Park this week.
There was not a dry towel or body in sight as players limbered up for the competition, which sees the men’s draw start tomorrow and the women's the day after.
In fact, the sizzling temperatures - set to soar to 40 degrees tomorrow - forced qualifier Tereza Hladikova to cheekily stifle a smile as she learnt the men would be the first to contest matches in the sweltering conditions.
After a two hour training session in oppressive midday heat, the 20-year-old asked: “The boys will start tomorrow? It’s so hot, I’m happy [the girls aren’t playing]."
The Czech flew in from her home country three days ago and is slowly adjusting to the dramatic temperature change and time difference.
Training sessions vary in length, depending on the weather, and Hladikova listens to her body.
“I normally train for four hours, today was only two. It’s enough because of the heat,” she said. “Yesterday I trained for three hours, it depends on the weather.”
Elsewhere, Simon Stadler was finding it easier to adjust and said the rocketing temperatures are unlikely to have any impact on his training patterns.
“I was in Brisbane last week so I am pretty used to the heat. [I will hit] once a day and keep it a little bit quieter before the tournament, but that’s not because of the heat.
“It’s tough to play but I like it when it’s hot. If it’s too humid it’s more tough, I think to play. If it’s like this hot and dry I think it’s OK.”
So what does Stadler think of his qualifying chances? “It’s always hard to say at the beginning of year. You didn’t play tournaments before and you never know what to expect, but actually I feel good.”
Compatriot Benedikt Dorsch, meanwhile, flew in from his homeland where he was training indoors on carpet.
“It was pretty cold there – minus 10” he laughs. “I have been here since Friday and I think four or five days to get used to the heat and weather should be fine. So no problems there I hope.”
Tomorrow is set to be a scorcher but cooler climes are predicted by the afternoon.