For those who have been living under a rock for the past couple of days — first of all, lucky you, you're better off than those at the Australian Open. Secondly, it's been hot in Melbourne — really, really hot.

It reached 39C yesterday, and today was even worse as the mercury soared above 40C — and there was no escape.

The first thing you noticed after stepping out from the air-conditioned media centre into the Melbourne Park precinct on Friday afternoon was the silence. It was as quiet as it was hot. That is, really quiet.

Temperatures soared at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne today. Picture / AP
Temperatures soared at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne today. Picture / AP

The place has been pumping all week. Finding a seat even on the outside courts hasn't always been easy, bars have been packed, public viewing areas are always crowded and navigating your way through walkways connecting different areas of the facility requires plenty of deft sidesteps. Not so on Friday.

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People were still out and about but compared to the previous few days, Melbourne Park resembled a ghost town. One of the bars near the outside western courts — which during week has boasted long line at all hours — was literally deserted.

"This is the quietest it's been all week," one of the servers said. "Probably because people can't be bothered walking over here."

Was it really too hot for beer? Melbourne, you've got a serious problem if it's so hot fans are forgoing frothies because they didn't dare risk crossing the sunbaked tarmac for fear of being caught in the sun's gaze for 30 seconds.

The bar was empty but the Haagen-Dazs ice cream stall was doing a roaring trade.

Britain's Kyle Edmund celebrates after defeating Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. Picture / AP
Britain's Kyle Edmund celebrates after defeating Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. Picture / AP

Show Court 2 played host to a three hour and 34 minute barn burner of a match between Great Britain's Kyle Edmund and Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili. Edmund won in five sets 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5, but you wish there were more people around to see what Andy Murray on Twitter called the biggest win of Edmund's career.

Large sections of the stands — bathed in full sunlight — were empty as fans herded themselves into the few precious shady sections on offer.

"I'm sweating loads," one Edmund fan said. "I'm wet, I'm soaked through."

Grace, a gate attendant at one of the outside courts, was on her fourth day straight of wearing the long, black pants required of staff, and she was not pleased with the fashion that had been forced upon her and her colleagues. Like the Brit in the stands watching Edmund's match, she too was sweating in all the wrong places.

"I feel like death is around the corner. It's hectic," she said. "I felt like I was going to faint.

"Wearing these trousers is making me really hot and gross. It's terrible staying in this heat. I feel like my face is going to melt.

"It should be illegal to be working in 42C heat like this, it really should be.

"There's sweat between my legs, in my bum.

"Having to wear this outfit and stand in the sun — there's nothing much you can really do."

It sounded like Grace and her colleagues have the worst job in Melbourne.

A spectator cools down in front of water spraying fans as temperatures rise close to 40 degrees Celsius on day five of competition at the Australian Open tennis championships. Picture / AP
A spectator cools down in front of water spraying fans as temperatures rise close to 40 degrees Celsius on day five of competition at the Australian Open tennis championships. Picture / AP

The open air cinema style set-up in front of one of the big screens at Melbourne Park was empty. No one was brave enough to roast themselves in the unprotected furnace and who could blame them.

The fountain behind the cluster of empty chairs was seeing much more action as people did their best to beat the heat.

"We're actually feeling tired from the heat. We're sweaty, you can't get comfortable," one woman said.

Trees were swaying but the rustling of the leaves gave a false hope. It was a hot, dry wind that only added to the pain — not yet the refreshing breeze forecast during a cool change later in the day.

Questions have been raised about whether it's safe to play in such extreme heat.

France's Alize Cornet is attended to after suffering from the heat during her third round match against Belgium's Elise Mertens at the Australian Open. Picture / AP
France's Alize Cornet is attended to after suffering from the heat during her third round match against Belgium's Elise Mertens at the Australian Open. Picture / AP

Gael Monfils said he "was dying on court" during his loss to Novak Djokovic on Thursday and today it became too much for Alize Cornet, who at one stage lay down on the baseline in her defeat to Elise Mertens. The Frenchwoman was severely distressed as she was attended to at the side of the court, officials rubbing ice packs all over her body.

At least fans had a plethora of shady marquees and free water refill stations at their disposal. They flocked in droves to mist-spraying fans, desperate to cool their weary faces.