Ticket-holders for the upcoming Canberra International tournament have been offered refunds after the ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Women’s World Tour event was relocated 370 miles east to Bendigo due to the ongoing bushfire crisis in the country.
The tournament was slated to begin at the Canberra Tennis Centre in Lyneham on Monday.
However, the decision was taken to shift the event after health experts warned that the Australian Capital Territory air quality was unlikely to improve next week.
The Canberra Times newspaper reported that Canberra had the poorest air quality of any major cities in the world on Wednesday and Thursday, reaching more than 20 times above hazardous levels.
“It was a really tough decision but it was the right decision,” said Tennis ACT chief executive Kim Kachel.
“Our thoughts are very much with the communities that are battling these fires and those that are doing it tough at the moment. We wanted to stress that’s a bigger priority than sporting events right now. The health of our players, fans, volunteers, staff and stakeholders is our biggest priority at all times.
“The best advice from weather and fire experts is the conditions over the next few days are unpredictable and make it unlikely to play. Based on the unpredictable conditions and some of the potential impacts of what’s coming up, the decision was made to relocate the tournament at the earliest opportunity. The team at Bendigo Tennis Association can help us stage a hopefully great event.”
Earlier this week Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts insisted that the health of spectators and participants would not be compromised during the Australia v New Zealand Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground this weekend.
The match started today (Friday), but Roberts said that officials would be “consistently monitoring” the air quality over the five days of scheduled play.
Image: Tennis ACT