The Australian Open Extreme Heat Policy: What Is It?

Australia has a reputation for warm weather. Alright, warm might be understating it, but the point is, it’s a thing. Australia’s high temperature climate means that certain things work differently when compared to, oh say, Wimbledon, London.

A good point to this is the Australian Open extreme heat policy a rule which pertains to exactly what you think it would with that name. See, the Australian Open is the first Grand Slam with a roof starting in 1988, when it was held in the Rod Laver Arena. The initial iteration of the rule allowed for the roof to be closed when the temperature rose above 39 OC (102 OF) or at the decision of the referee when the temperature rose to about 35 OC. The humidity also had to be past a certain point with certain high-heat, low-humidity conditions being unable to invoke the rule. Another problem was it could only be done for daytime matches and after all singles matches. Consequently, the rule could only be implemented from the quarterfinals onwards.

Of course, this is a rule, and you know, what some people say about rules. Well, people say a lot of things about rules; that they’re meant to be broken, that they’re more like guidelines, etc. etc. Needless to say, this rule hasn’t been followed all the time, with certain circumstances (like one of the players refusing the rule), preventing it from being implemented. Still, it’s generally been one of those successful rules, and its current iteration has been edited for 2015. The threshold is now 40 OC, with a WGBT threshold of 32.5 OC. These changes were made for fewer stoppages and more continuous playing.

There was this one time where the Melbourne & Olympics Parks Trust, the people in charge of Hisense Arena during the 2013 Australian Open, got sued by a spectator, but that’s just a minor issue.

Still, if tennis rules get this much headway in Australia, what about construction? Meteorology? For example, is the plastering in Sydney up to par with the temperatures there? Can the meteorological equipment handle the Australian climes? Are the houses there insulated right? Questions, questions.