The Association of Tennis Professionals, which runs the men's tour, is to discuss whether it needs to adopt a heat policy in the wake of the gruelling conditions that have dominated the first week of the Australian Open.
The temperature peaked at a scorching 42.2C on Friday and, although there was no repeat of the distressing scenes from earlier in the week when various players suffered in the heat, some competitors feel it is time to bring in guidelines.
Unlike the women's tour, which since 1992 has had a heat rule making provision for a 10-minute break between second and third sets in extreme conditions, the ATP has no such clearly defined policy. The four Grand Slam tournaments have their own rules, but the Australian Open has been happy to adopt the WTA's heat rule and would probably be open to following any ATP initiative.
Most ATP tournaments in venues susceptible to excessive temperatures do not schedule matches at the hottest time of the day. Playing best-of-three-set matches rather than five is also less demanding.
Chris Kermode, the ATP's new executive chairman and president, told the BBC yesterday that there were divergent opinions among the players about the heat rules but added: "We need to make sure that players are very clear when they step out on to the court about what temperature means the roof goes on or a game is stopped."
Andy Roddick, who retired two years ago, was blunt when asked his opinion about the heat: "It's funny, the guys who have the reputation for being prepared aren't the guys keeling over. You're never going to see Roger [Federer] outwardly showing heat. You're not going to see Rafa [Nadal] doing it. You're not going to see Novak [Djokovic] ...
"I hated it when they closed the roof. I felt like it was a different tennis tournament once they put it indoors. They do have a system in place if they deem it's too hot. Do we need to make extreme things because guys are struggling? As athletes, we push our bodies to do things that aren't normal and, that's what we get paid for."
- The Independent